Word of the Day Wednesday: Grants and Scholarships
Each Wednesday, MEFA features a Word of the Day, where we highlight a word (or sometimes a phrase) related to the college planning process. This month, we're focusing on vocabulary related to the components of the financial aid offer.
Today's Word of the Day is: Grants and Scholarships
Grants and scholarships are the most coveted types of financial aid that a student may receive as part of the financial aid offer from a college. They are "free monies" that do not need to be repaid.
Most federal, state, and college and university grants and scholarships are offered based on the financial need of the student and family using the information reported on the FAFSA® and other financial aid applications.
Some grants and scholarships, however, may be offered based upon merit. Merit awards, as they are often called, are given in recognition of certain attributes of the student that a college wants to reward, such as good grades, community service, leadership, or athletics. It is always important to know whether a merit award is renewable for every year of college or given for only one academic year. You can find this information on the financial aid offer or the college's financial aid website.
When reviewing each financial aid offer, ask the following questions:
- How much total money in grants and scholarships did I receive?
- Can I expect about the same amount of need-based grants each year?
- What are the renewal criteria of the merit-based grants and scholarships that I received?
Contact the college financial aid office if the answers to these questions are not located on your financial aid offer or on the college's website.
Why does this matter to you?
Comparing financial aid offers can be confusing to a family, and it is important that families fully understand each part of every offer. So review the offers carefully, and if you have any questions, feel free to call us at (800) 449-MEFA (6332). We are happy to help!