Financial Aid

MODULE GOAL(S): To learn about financial aid options for paying for college.


  1. To determine the need for financial aid.
  2. To explain the different types of financial aid.
  3. To describe, in detail, the various Federal grant programs.
  4. To describe the Federal Work-Study program.
  5. To point out some concerns when taking student loans.
  6. To describe in detail the various Federal loan programs.
  7. To explain the process for applying and qualifying for Federal Financial Aid.
  8. To explain the services provided through Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and the process for applying and qualifying for services.
  9. To identify other programs that could provide funding for a college education.
  10. To explain how incentives under the Social Security programs could help pay for college.


A college education takes much of your time and effort, and either your or your family’s money. You’ll need to figure out how to pay for your education but it will all be worth it. During your lifetime with a college degree, you will earn almost twice as much as someone with just a high school diploma. More education equals higher pay. The more education you have, the more you earn. So invest in your education—it really payoffs!

However, the cost of college tuition and other costs of attending college continue to go up. Therefore, most students and their families cannot afford these costs without some outside help or financial aid.


  1. Several questions are important as you begin to explore funding college. These are:
  2. What is Financial Aid?
  3. What Federal grant programs are available?
  4. What’s the difference between Federal Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants?
  5. What is the Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program?
  6. Should I consider student loans?
  7. What types of loans are there?
  8. How do I begin applying for Federal financial aid?
  9. How does financial aid relate to financial need and what is an Expected Family Contribution? What are “Disability Related” expenses?
  10. What type of education do I need to qualify for Federal financial aid?
  11. What is an “ability to benefit” test?
  12. What else do I need to do to qualify for Federal financial aid?
  13. What do I do next?
  14. Am I eligible for vocational rehabilitation funds?
  15. Can Social Security benefits help me pay for college?
  16. Are there other benefits, especially if I receive SSDI?
  17. Are there any other programs that could provide funding for my college education?

What is Financial Aid?

Financial aid helps you with college costs when you can not pay for them. If you believe that the funds your family can afford will not be enough to pay for all the costs of attending college (tuition, room and board, books, transportation, campus activities, etc.), you should apply for financial aid by contacting the financial aid office of the college you plan to attend. Apply early because some programs are on a first come, first serve basis.

  • Financial aid programs include scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study. All students with financial need most often use federal grants, loans, and work-study.
  • Grants—Money you receive by applying, which most likely will not have to be repaid.
  • Loans—Money you or your family borrows to cover school costs, which must be repaid (usually with interest) over a period of time (usually after until leave school or graduated).
  • Work-study—Work, usually on-campus, that allows you to earn money toward a part of school costs.

You may qualify for a scholarship that is available to all students based on your academic achievement or special skill or talent. Search for an on-line scholarship data base or look for a directory, such as Peterson’s Scholarship Almanac, in your library. A few scholarships are foronly students with disabilities. Most cover only a small amount of the cost of college. Scholarships are gifts and awards based on your academic achievement, background or other basis. Check The GWU HEATH Resource Center website for the latest edition of Creating Options: A Resource on Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities. The links page on the The GW HEATH website has information on a variety of financial aid.

Financial aid may be available through state agencies for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) if you are eligible for their services. Again, VR may be able to help pay for some college costs but not others.

Each type of financial aid will be discussed further.

What Federal grant programs are available?

There are several types of Federal financial aid programs. Here is a list of two of the most common:

Pell Grants are:

  • the basis of federal student financial aid, to which aid from other sources might be added,
  • generally awarded only to undergraduate students,
  • received in some cases, if you’re enrolled in a graduate teacher certificate program,
  • individual funding amounts that can change each year.

 Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant are:

  • awarded to undergraduate students with the greatest financial need,
  • given to Federal Pell Grant recipients on a priority basis,
  • awards range from $100 to $4,000 a year.

There are two new grant programs: the Academic Competitiveness Grant and the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National SMART Grant). (See the booklet called Funding Your Education for more information about these programs.)

What’s the difference between Federal Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants?

Under Federal Pell Grants:

  • You’ll receive the full amount you qualify for—each school receives enough funds to pay the Pell amounts for all its eligible students.
  • The amount of other student aid you might qualify for does not affect the amount of your Pell Grant.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG):

  • Unlike Pell Grants, the amount of FSEOGs you receive depends not only on your financial need but, also, on the amount of other aid you get and the availability of funds at your school.
  • Receiving other aid might reduce the amount of your FSEOG award.
  • Not all schools participate in the FSEOG program.
  • Each school participating in the FSEOG program receives a certain amount of FSEOG funds each year from the U.S. Department of Education. When all of those funds have been disbursed for that award year, no more FSEOG awards can be made for that year. It’s important to apply early to be considered for these funds. Not everyone who qualifies for an FSEOG might get one.

What is the Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program?

Under the FWS program, you can work part-time to earn money for your education based on financial need. The FWS program:

  • Provides part-time employment while you are enrolled in school.
  • Helps pay your educational expenses.
  • Is available to undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Is available to full-time or part-time students.
  • Is administered by schools participating in the FWS program.
  • Encourages community service work and work related to your course of study.

Should I consider student loans?

Student loans, unlike grants and work-study, are money that you borrow and must repay, with interest, just like a car loan. You cannot cancel these loans because you didn’t like the education you received, didn’t get a job in your field of study or because you’re having financial problems. Loans are legal obligations, so before you take out a student loan, think about the amount you’ll have to repay over the years as well as your other expenses.

What types of loans are there?

Federal Perkins Loans are made through participating schools to full-time or part-time undergraduate, graduate and professional degree students and must be repaid by you to your school. They are offered by participating schools to students who demonstrate financial need.

  • There is a maximum to the amount of Perkins Loan funds you can receive, depending on whether you’re an undergraduate, graduate or professional degree student. However, the amount you can borrow might be less than the maximum available.
  • Each school participating in the Federal Perkins Loan program receives a certain amount of Perkins funds each year from the U.S. Department of Education.
  • When all available funds for that award year have been made, no more awards can be made for that year.
  • Apply for financial aid early so you can be considered for these funds.

Stafford Loans are for undergraduate, graduate and professional degree students. You must be enrolled as at least a half-time* student to be eligible for a Stafford Loan. There are two types of Stafford Loans: subsidized and unsubsidized. Subsidized requires that you must have financial need to receive a Stafford Loan. Financial need is not a requirement to obtain an unsubsidized Stafford Loan. With a subsidized Stafford Loan, you can borrow an amount to cover some or all of your need, but the amount of your subsidized loan cannot exceed your financial need. Also, the U.S. Department of Education will pay the interest:

  • While you’re in school at least half-time.*
  • For the first six months after you leave school (referred to as a “grace period”).
  • During a period of deferment (a delay of loan payments).

These loans are made through one of two U.S. Department of Education programs [U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid. (2006) p. 9]:

William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program . Loans made through this program are referred to as Direct Loans. Eligible students and parents borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education at participating schools. You repay these loans directly to the Student Financial Aid Program. Direct Loans include subsidized and unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loans (also known as Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans), Direct PLUS Loans, and Direct Consolidation Loans.

Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program. Private lenders provide funds that are guaranteed by the federal government. You are responsible the finding a bank or private lender and repaying these loans to the lender that made you the loan. The college or state guaranty agency can help you find a lender. (Contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at (800) 4FEDAID (433-3243) for the phone number of the guaranty agency in your state.) FFEL Loans include subsidized and unsubsidized FFEL Stafford Loans, FFEL PLUS Loans and FFEL Consolidation Loans.

Direct Loans and FFEL Loans can be [U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid. (2006) p. 10]:

PLUS Loans are loans your parents can obtain to help pay for your undergraduate education. In addition, if you intend to obtain a graduate or professional degree, you may obtain PLUS Loans to help pay for it. However, the school you intend to attend must participate in these programs. You can apply for either a Direct PLUS Loan or a FFEL PLUS Loan but not both.

Consolidation Loans allow you or your parents to combine multiple federal education loans into one loan with one monthly payment. This monthly payment may be lower and you may have a longer period of time to repay the loan. However, the consolidation loan may increase the total cost because you are paying more interest over that period.

Whether you or your parents receive a Direct or a FFEL Stafford Loan depends on which program the school you attend participates in. Most schools participate in one or the other, although some schools participate in both. It’s possible for you to receive both Direct and FFEL Stafford Loans but not for the same period of attendance.

The maximum annual loan limits for subsidized and unsubsidized Direct and FFEL Stafford Loans depend on:

  • What year you are in school.
  • Whether you are a financially dependent or independent student.

You must first use loan money to pay for your tuition, fees and room and board. If loan funds remain, you’ll receive them by check or in cash, unless you give the school written permission to hold the funds until later in your college attendance.

Loans can be discharged or cancelled for several reasons, including working in several careers where there are shortages of personnel. You should check the website for more information or page 32 of Funding Your Education .

How do I begin applying for Federal financial aid?

You are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for any and all grant, loan, and work-study program. There is no charge to complete or process the FAFSA. You may use either the paper or electronic formats of the FAFSA. When you use the FAFSA on the Web, you can complete and submit it on the Internet. There is a Pre-Application Worksheet to help you collect information you need to complete the application. You will need to get an electronic access code number or PIN number for submitting the FAFSA on-line. The PIN serves as an electronic signature for you and your parents. The PIN will also give you access to your personal federal student aid information. You can learn more about FAFSA on the Web and the PIN process on the following web site:

Copies of the paper FAFSA are available at high schools and colleges or by contacting the Federal Student Aid Information Center at (800) 4FEDAID (433-3243).

How does financial aid relate to financial need and what is an Expected Family Contribution?

Most financial aid is based on financial need, that is, you and your family’s need for extra funds to pay for the cost of college attendance including the costs for the supports you need to be successful. The agency or organization that you applied for aid considers the amount of income you and your family have when they decide how much aid they will give you. For example, most of our Federal financial ad programs are based on financial need and consider your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is a measure of your family’s financial strength and indicates how much of your and your family’s financial resources should be available to help pay for your education. The EFC based on the information on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and a formula found in the Federal law that funds financial aid. The total amount of money your family makes, what they own, and their benefits (for example, income from unemployment or Social Security) are all figured involve your EFC number. Your family size and the number of family members who will be attending a college are also considered. You are financially independent of your family when you do not rely on your family for financial support and they do not claim you as a dependent for tax purposes. Your EFC will be based on only your finances if you are financially independent. The lower your EFC number, the more you have a financial need and the more aid you will likely to be eligible for and receive. This is explained in the following chart.

Financial Need

Cost of Attendance

Tuition, fees, books and supplies, personal computers, room, board, transportation, personal expenses, dependent care, loan fees, expenses related to disability; study abroad costs; cooperative education costs.*

Family Contribution

Amount family and/or student are expected to contribute toward cost of education (contribution from income or assets, social security benefits, welfare, etc.).

Financial Need

Amount of demonstrated need to be packaged. (See subheading “What Is a Financial Aid Package?” on page 6).

*Some expenses may not be considered in the determination of financial need.

(See the question, “What are Disability Related Expenses?)

What are “Disability Related” expenses?

You may face expenses related to your disability that other students do not. These may include:

  • Special equipment (related to the disability) and its maintenance.
  • Cost of services for personal use or study, such as readers, interpreters, note takers, or personal care attendants.
  • Transportation, if traditional means are not accessible.
  • Medical expenses not covered by insurance that relate directly to the individual’s disability.

You should tell the financial aid administrator at your college of any disability-related expenses that have been covered by the family budget. These may include food and veterinary bills for guide dogs, batteries for hearing aids and a Teletypewriter (TTY), or the cost of recruiting readers or personal care attendants.

When you leave home, will you need new or extra equipment that will allow you to be independent at college? For example, your high school may have provided a computer or other adapted equipment, but since that equipment belongs to the high school after you graduate, the cost to buy this equipment would be a disability-related expense. However, it is best to check with the college’s disability support services office before you buy a costly piece of equipment to see if they have it available. Students with disabilities on-campus may have some low-cost ideas for you to consider.

What type of education do I need to qualify for Federal financial aid?

First, you must show that you qualify educationally to enter college by one of the following:

  • Have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate.
  • Receive a high school diploma through the National External Diploma Program, if available in your state.
  • Pass an approved ability-to-benefit (ATB) test. (If you don’t have a diploma or GED, you can take an approved ATB test to determine whether you can benefit from the education offered at that school. More information about ATB is provided in the next question.)
  • Meet alternative state requirements that are equal to a high school diploma and have been approved by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Federal Student Aid.
  • Complete a high school education in a home school setting approved under state law.

A high school diploma usually means a your state’s standard diploma and not a special education diploma or certificate of attendance. However, some states have different rules and you may be accepted “conditionally” and eligible for financial aid without having a standard diploma, a GED or passing an ATB test. You will have to make satisfactory academic progress, which usually means earning a “C” average. You should check with the college financial aid officer where you want to enroll.

What is an “ability to benefit” test ?

This is a test to show you have an from college. Click here to see an example of an ability to benefit test from Los Angeles Valley College. These tests usually measure your basic reading and math skills. Each test has a passing score. Passing one of these test shows that you can do well in college. The college’s financial aid officer makes the testing arrangements and can select an appropriate test from a list those approved. Since the testing arrangements must accommodate your disability, you should discuss with the finance aid officer the type of test on which you perform best so he/she can select the most appropriate one.

What else do I need to do to qualify for Federal financial aid?

You must be enrolled or accepted in a college as a student working toward a degree or certificate in an eligible program. You must also be making satisfactory academic progress.

Most Federal financial aid programs will also want you to take a minimum number of credits (usually 12 although some Federal programs will let you take less). Some Federal loan programs allow students to attend half- time (minimum 6 credits). You may not request less than the minimum number of full-time and part-time credits to qualify for financial aid as a disability accommodation. States, such as New York, will allow you to receive a state-sponsored Tuition Assistance Plan with less than 6 credits.

Pell Grants and FSEOGs do not require a minimum of half-time enrollment, but the amount of financial aid you receive will be based on the number of credits you take.

What do I do next?

You must either submit the FAFSA on-line or sign and mail the paper FAFSA in the preaddressed envelope that’s in your FAFSA packet. The deadline for submitting FAFSA is usually early in the July before the academic year you plan to attend. However, you are encouraged to submit your application as early as possible. Your FAFSA will be processed in two to three weeks. Once your application has been reviewed, you will receive the result either by mail or e-mail. It will provide you with information on how to access your Student Aid Report (SAR) data. Your Student Aid Report (SAR) shows all the information you gave on your FAFSA. If you don’t hear anything within three weeks of the date you submitted your application, check your status through online or call 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).

Am I eligible for vocational rehabilitation funds?

Many students with disabilities receive services from their state Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies. You must submit a written application to request services and provide information to determine your eligibility. A counselor at your local VR agency can help determine your eligibility for services. To be eligible, you must have a disability that results in a significant barrier to employment and require VR services to obtain, regain, or retain employment. Since the goal of VR is to help you achieve employment, the counselor will carefully consider your educational plans and how they affect your potential for employment.

Once you are eligible for VR, some of the services that may be provided are:

  • Help with tuition expenses.
  • Room and board.
  • Transportation/ commuting expenses.
  • Books and supplies.
  • Out of class reader services for people who are blind or who have learning disabilities; interpreter services for people who are hearing impaired; and/or individually prescribed aids and devices.
  • Telecommunications, sensory, and other technological aids and devices.
  • Other goods and services that help an individual with a disability become employed.

You and your counselor must develop an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) to receive VR services. You also must use resources from other federal or state agencies before VR will pay for services. Therefore, you most likely will have to apply for Federal financial aid to receive VR services. Some states provide services based on financial need and you are required to contribute toward the cost of certain services, depending on your or your family’s ability to pay. Other states may have a policy favoring attendance at in-state public postsecondary institutions. VR funding will more likely not cover the total of postsecondary tuition and related costs. Applying for financial aid is essential if your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will not cover the difference.

Services and eligibility requirements differ among state VR programs because each state administers its own program within the provisions of the Rehabilitation Act and in approval of the U.S. Department of Education. The counselor may determine that you not eligible for services, or that you cannot be offered services immediately because your state’s VR agency must give priority to providing services to individuals with the most significant disabilities.

In some states there are two agencies: one for people who are blind or visually impaired and a second for people with other disabilities. In other states, there is one agency serving all people with disabilities. The name Vocational Rehabilitation agency may be different from state to state, making it hard to find their number in the telephone directory. Contact your state government or public library for the telephone number and address of your local VR agency. You can also click the link below for a directory of state Vocational Rehabilitation agencies:

For additional information, visit or Job Accommodations Network.

Can Social Security benefits help me pay for college?

Yes, if you are eligible, the work incentives administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) can be used to offset college expenses. There are two major programs: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for people with little or no income and resources, and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) for insured workers, their disabled surviving spouses and children (disabled before age 22) of disabled, retired or deceased workers. To be eligible for either of these programs, you must meet SSA’s definition of disability, which is based on your inability to work. If you have never worked, you must have a physical or mental condition(s) that very seriously limits your activities. If you have worked and became disabled, you are considered disabled under SSA’s rules if you cannot do work that you did before and you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s). Your disability must also last or be expected to last for at least one year.

Applying for either Social Security programs is a long process and requires the completion of many forms as well as your or your parents’ permission for SSA to access your medical and school records. You can learn more on the Social Security Disability page . To begin the application process for SSI, you can use the Child Disability Starter Kit if you’re under age 18. As an adult, you can begin the application process for either SSI or SSDI by using the Adult Disability Starter Kit. You are encouraged to call and make an appointment at your local SSA office. Representatives are trained to help answer questions about benefits and eligibility and help begin the application process.

If you receive SSI, you can set aside money to go to school to get specialized training for a job under a Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS) . Usually, any income that you have may reduce your SSI payment. But, if you have an approved PASS plan, you can use that income to pay for the items you need to reach your work goal. Social Security does not count money set aside under this plan when deciding your SSI payment amount. This means you may get a higher SSI payment. With an approved PASS, you can set aside money to pay expenses to reach your work goal. For example, the money you save can be used for tuition, books, fees and supplies needed for school or training.

Are there other benefits, especially if I receive SSDI?

While you are not eligible for a PASS plan, you may be eligible to participate in the Ticket to Work Program , an employment and healthcare initiative designed to assist individuals with disabilities who want to work. People receiving SSI may also be eligible for a ticket. The program increases choices and opportunities for people with disabilities to find employment, vocational rehabilitation and other support services through Employment Networks (ENs) . ENs include education and training programs, state and local government agencies, WIA boards and One-Stop centers, colleges, advocacy organizations, employers, and many other public and private entities across the country. If you are eligible for a ticket, your postsecondary training program may be an approved EN (or may apply to be one) and accept your ticket to help pay for some of the cost of your training.

To be a ticket-holder, you must be between the ages of 18 and 64, and currently receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The Program will allow you to keep your health care services through Medicare.

If you receive Social Security benefits, call your local Social Security office to see how they can help you with college costs.

Are there any other programs that could provide funding for my college education?

There are many other grants, awards, private and public agencies that support college education. The following are just a few of the opportunities to get funding you can use towards a college education:

AmeriCorps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, an agency created to connect Americans of all ages and backgrounds with opportunities to give back to their communities and their nation. The Corporation also oversees several other volunteer programs, which engage more than 1.5 million Americans of all ages and backgrounds in service each year. (In recent years, AmeriCorps has made extra efforts to recruit and support people with disabilities as volunteers.) Full-time members who complete their service earn a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award of $4,725 to pay for college, graduate school, or to pay back student loans. Members who serve part-time receive a partial Award. Some AmeriCorps members may also receive a modest living allowance during their term of service. For more information about exchanging national or community service for educational funding, contact AmeriCorps at (800) 942-2677 or visit their web site.

Federal TRIO programs are educational opportunity outreach programs designed to motivate and support low-income, first-generation college students, and students with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs. One TRIO program, the Educational Opportunity Centers program, provides counseling and information on college admissions to adults who want to enter or continue a program of postsecondary education. An objective of the program is to counsel participants on financial aid options and to assist in the application process. For more information on TRIO programs, contact the Division of Student Service, 1250 Maryland Avenue, SW, Portals Building, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20202-5249.

The Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship Program is for high school graduates who have been accepted for enrollment at institutions of higher education (IHEs), have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, and show promise of continued academic excellence. Students must apply directly to the state education agency (SEA) in their state of legal residence. Application deadlines are set forth by the respective SEA. Click here for a list of state education agency contacts . Students must request the application package from the state education agency and follow their instructions for application procedures.

Individual Development Accounts, also known as “IDAs”, are a savings account. What makes it special is you receive an additional deposit each time you add to your savings. It is called a match and is usually one to four times the size of each deposit you make. One specific purpose of an IDA is for going back to school. To be eligible for an IDA, you must be within the income guideline of “200% of poverty”. This means, for example, that an individual could not earn more than $17,720. You must also have a job. Even if you do not meet these guidelines, you should still pursue participating in an IDA program, because the IDA program nearest you may have more liberal guidelines. You can find a list of programs in your state by going to, clicking on "IDA Directory". The IDA Directory allows you to search for IDA programs using multiple criteria. If you receive Social Security benefits, be sure to inform the administrator of the IDA program you select because only some programs accept participants who receive these benefits.



Federal Student Aid

POSTSECONDARY (related to colleges, universities, and/or employment)

The GW HEATH Resource Center

Other Materials/Resources

Federal financial aid programs are explained in a booklet called Funding Education Beyond High School: The Guide to Federal Student Aid from the U.S. Department of Education. Copies are available in English and Spanish. For a free copy, write to: Federal Student Aid Programs, Box 84, Washington, DC 20044, or call (800) 433-3243 or (800) 730-8913 (TTY). The booklet is also available at the following Web address:


Now that you read this module, use the following steps to determine your need for financial aid and to develop a plan of action for meeting this need. Begin as early as possible, preferably in your junior year of high school:

  • Discuss with your parents their ability to pay for your college education. (This is similar to your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) should you and your parents decide to apply for Federal financial aid.)
  • Investigate financial aid opportunities with your high school counselor and on the web, including AmeriCorps, college TRIO programs, and any scholarship programs sponsored by your state such as the Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship Program.
  • As you explore different colleges, consider the cost of attendance for each in relation to the programs and services they offer as well as your EFC and sources of financial aid.
  • Begin the application process with Vocational Rehabilitation and Social Security (if not already receiving benefits).

In your senior year of high school:

  • Obtain the FAFSA from your high school counselor, the financial aid office in a college you plan to attend, or by contacting the Federal Student Aid Information Center at (800) 4FEDAID (433-3243) in early Fall if possible.
  • Mail your FAFSA or submit it on-line ( as soon as possible after January 1. (You will need your and/or your family’s income as reported for tax purposes for the previous year.)
  • Apply for ALL scholarships and other programs offering financial support for which you are eligible and/or interested.
  • Obtain and submit all financial aid documents required by the college(s) you applied to by their respective deadlines.
  • Keep accurate records (copies of documents, dates submitted, etc.)
  • Look for the result of your FAFSA either by mail or e-mail. It will provide you with information on how to access your Student Aid Report (SAR) data. Your Student Aid Report (SAR) shows all the information you gave on your FAFSA. If you don’t hear anything within three weeks of the date you submitted your application, check your status through the Web. You can also check your status by contacting the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).
  • Contact the financial aid offices you applied to, ask if they have received your SAR, and that they are processing your financial aid package.
  • Meet with your VR counselor regularly and determine the financial support VR will contribute to the financial aid package offered by the college.
  • Follow-up with the Social Security Administration to determine whether their work incentive programs (PASS, Ticket-to-Work) can help pay the cost of your college education.
  • Consider all sources of financial aid (your Expected Family Contribution, grants, loans, scholarships, VR and Social Security financial support) offered to you, and decide to attend the best college program you can afford.

 Attend college, do the best you can, and ENJOY YOURSELF!


Now that you have gone through this module, you should understand the need for financial aid and the different types of aid available to you. You should also know the steps in applying for Federal financial aid. There are other sources of aid to consider such as, Vocational Rehabilitation and Social Security. Finally, you have other resources you can explore to find the funding you need to successfully complete your college education.

This document made possible in part by the support of The HSC Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based foundation dedicated to expanding access and success in education beyond high school. HEATH is affiliated with The George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The HSC Foundation. No official endorsement by the Foundation or of any product, commodity, service or enterprise mentioned in this publication is intended or should be inferred. Permission to use, copy, and distribute this document for non-commercial use and without fee, is hereby granted if appropriate credit to the HEATH Resource Center at the National Youth Transitions Center is included in all copies.