Need-Based Financial Aid


Need-based financial aid is tied to student and family resources. Colleges offer scholarships, grants and loans for students who demonstrate financial need. In order to receive the most funding, you need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to qualify. Some colleges have their own applications and may require additional documents. You can also apply for need-based scholarships from foundations, businesses and nonprofits.

Need-based scholarships are awarded to students with demonstrated talent and financial need. Typically, scholarships are awarded for each year of college enrollment. This type of award is available for both need- and merit-based students. Most schools use proprietary formulas to calculate demonstrated financial need. It’s not always easy to determine the right type of scholarship, though. If you have questions about the process, you can consult with your school’s admissions office.

The most basic needs include eating, drinking, shelter and sleep. You need to get enough sleep to function and maintain good health. A closet or bathroom are secondary needs. There are even tertiary needs such as a luxury apartment or sports car. However, if you’re not sure if you need to buy a new car or a luxury apartment, take some time to ponder your options.

Need-aware colleges are different from need-blind colleges in that they take into account a student’s financial situation in addition to his or her academic accomplishments. They also are required to enroll students from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. These schools often have more diversity in their student body than their need-blind counterparts.

One way to measure a need-aware school’s financial aid strategy is to look at their target “discount rate.” Most schools will manage to fall within this target range when making admissions decisions.

Need-aware colleges may also have their own financial aid application, such as the FAFSA, or they may use a College Board CSS Profile to determine demonstrated need. They may also offer scholarships, merit-based awards or other forms of aid. Whether you’re a top student or a low-income parent, you’ll want to do your homework before applying to a university.

In short, need-based financial aid is a must for most college students. It can be expensive to attend school and you may need to get a high-interest loan. Your options are limited, however, so you’ll need to make a realistic plan of action.

The best way to identify your needs is to look for them in everyday life. For example, you may have a new book to read or you may need to buy a new painting. Use this information to create a budget. When you’re done, you’ll know exactly how much you can afford to spend on tuition, books, and other fees.

While it’s not a guarantee that you’ll be able to afford a fancy apartment, you can still improve your quality of life. Identify your needs and put them first. After all, if you don’t meet your needs, you might end up with poor performance.