Posted by: Generación Latina | January 26, 2010


If it is for college find it here!  CHA-CHING!

Every year, the Department of Education gives away some $96 billion dollars in financial aid.  Are you going to sit back and let other students take away a chunk of that which could be yours?  If you knew that you could get FREE MONEY to go to college, what would you do?

I think I would be willing to stand on my head all day, or give up my cell phone and texting for a week! Really! If it is free money, or borrowed, and I could buy college textbooks, or pay some of my tuition, I would do many things.  The nice thing to know is that for a chance (and I would say a good chance) at getting federal financial aid you don’t have to stand on your head. All it takes is an application: Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

What is FAFSA?

The FAFSA is an application used to determine how much your family will be expected to contribute towards your college education based on your financial information.  The amount determined by FAFSA is called Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and this information is sent to the colleges and universities of your choice to help them determine how much aid you can receive from them in addition to the government.

How much money can I get?

While some students get a ‘free ride’, others get any of the following types of financial aid:

Grants– free money you don’t have to pay back.

Loans– money you can borrow and pay back when you have graduated with interest (unsubsidized) or no interest rate (subsidized).

Work Study– work opportunities offered to college students to earn money to pay for their education.

What can I use the money for?

  • Tuition and fees
  • Room and board
  • Books and supplies
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel

Can I apply?

Yes! You are eligible if you:

  • are a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national or an eligible non-citizen;
  • have a valid Social Security Number;
  • have a high school diploma or GED;
  • are registered with the U.S. Selective Service (if you are a male aged 18-25);
  • complete a FAFSA promising to use any federal aid for educational purposes;
  • do not owe refunds on any federal student grants;
  • are not in default on any student loans; and
  • have not been found guilty of the sale or possession of illegal drugs during a period in which federal aid was being received.

Remember, time is running out and you do not want to miss this chance.  Schools will need this information as soon as possible and they are considering hundreds if not thousands of other students like you.

The other side of the coin is all the money offered through scholarships.  The wide majority of these are only open to students with residence or citizenship.  Therefore, in this piece, we feature the following becas for undocumented students that tend to go under the radar.

Chicano Organization in Research and Education- CORE Scholarship

Mexican American Legal Defense Fund

My last recommendation to survive this spring deadline season and find some greens for tuition: Get yourself a big calendar; one that is in your face every day.  Post the deadlines of every scholarship you plan to apply to. The first one that should be on there, marked and highlighted should be…FAFSA!  This will help you stay organized which is the first key strategy as you head on to college- the next and most exciting season of your life.


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