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Types of grants and scholarships

Explore the world of college funding with Sean Logan, director of college counseling at Phillips Academy. Learn about merit-based aid, where it comes from, and what talents could earn you this type of aid. Dive into need-based aid, understand how it's determined, and discover the role of FAFSA and CSS Profile in this process.

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Video transcript

- [Voiceover] We're here with Sean Logan, director of college counseling at Phillips Academy. Sean, one of the biggest things that students and also parents are really concerned about is how to pay for college. One of the things that excites students and parents the most is free money, so scholarships and grants. Let's dig into that. Where does that money come from and how do students get it? - [Voiceover] Sure, so I think there's a couple different places that students can find that kind of money. One of the first ones might be merit based aid. Merit based aid is typically given by the college for students who have specific talents in certain kinds of things. - [Voiceover] So what sort of talents would actually get you that kind of aid? - [Voiceover] So there are schools that give out merit based money based on really strong academics, it might be on a musical ability, or an artistic ability, it could be on leadership or community service, experiences you've had. So there's multiple different ways that schools may give out that money. - [Voiceover] I imagine then that sports scholarships, which are sort of some of the most well-known type of scholarships out there, probably fall into this type of merit based scholarship then. - [Voiceover] Correct. - [Voiceover] Are schools the only place that give it or are there also other organizations where students can apply to get some merit based scholarships? - [Voiceover] So there are definitely merit scholarships that come from private companies, and corporations, and community groups as well. Again, they may be renewable, they may be just for one year only, but again, there are many, many places where students can go and find different opportunities to apply for maybe $500 to $30,000. Fastweb.com is a free site that's a great place that students can look online for different types of opportunities. They generally tend to have a lot of local opportunities in their own community that their high schools probably have as well. - [Voiceover] Great, and in addition to merit based aid, you mentioned there was sort of another place where a lot of money comes from. Talk me through that. - [Voiceover] The other kind of aid you will find is mostly need based aid. That's based on a very different set of criteria. That need based aid comes from your family's income and family's situation. Based off of that, schools will also offer need based aid for you. So the way that that happens is schools are going to ask you to fill out some forms. The first one is called the FAFSA, the F-A-F-S-A, which stands for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Remember that free part of that,. There are a couple of sites out there that will happily do the FAFSA for you and charge you for it, so be sure you're on the right website, fafsa.ed.gov. That website is what you will use. There's one other form that a lot of schools use, and that's called the CSS Profile. That's found on the college board website. But those are two forms that look at your family's finances in a little bit different way. Based on those two forms, a college will determine how much your family should be able to contribute to your education. So say that those two forms determine that your family can pay $10,000 towards a $60,000 education, then the school is going to come up with that extra $50,000 to make it possible for you to come. How they do that, hopefully a good portion of that will be scholarship aid that you will not pay back. - [Voiceover] Great, and so just to make sure I understand, you're going to fill out the FAFSA and maybe the profile for some schools. They're going to give some sort of estimation as to what your family can pay, and then the school's going to cover the rest. - [Voiceover] Right, and remember that all those two forms do is determine estimated family contribution, that's all they do. What the schools do with them varies greatly depending on their financial aid policy. So again, hopefully if there's a $50,000 need that is still there, the hope is that will be a school that will give the great majority of that in scholarship aid which you will not have to repay. - [Voiceover] Gotcha, and so this is where those need based scholarships come from is once you've filled out the FAFSA, and it's coming directly from the school. The school's paying for it or is that coming from the government as a combination? - [Voiceover] Probably a combination. So there are federal funds that are available to students, especially from lower income backgrounds. - [Voiceover] So that's where the Pell Grant, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, things like that? - [Voiceover] Correct. Then the schools usually have their own general scholarship fund that they also pull from as well. - [Voiceover] Great, thank you so much.