Financial Aid Information


General Financial Aid Criteria

  • Must fill out FAFSA annually
  • Must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in eligible program of study
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non citizen
  • If male must be registered with Selective Service (required)
  • May not have eligibility suspended or terminated due to drug related convictions
  • Student and parent of dependent must have a valid Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Cannot be default on a previous federal loan

Aid Application Process 

  1. Student submits completed FAFSA.
  2. Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is determined.
  3. Student receives Student Aid Report (SAR), which includes the EFC.
  4. Prospective colleges receive data, including EFC, and determine student financial need.
  5. Individual colleges develop financial aid packages and send student notifications.

Getting Started

Step 1: Request student and parent FAFSA identification number (FSA ID)

  • Go to to create an FSA (this will serve as your signature on the FAFSA. Click here for a step-by-step guide to creating an FSA ID)
  • BE PROACTIVE and complete early

Step 2: Collect Documentation

  • Social Security Numbers (students and parents)
  • Alien Registration # (permanent residents only)
  • Student driver license
  • State residency information
  • Marital information (dates)
  • W-2 Forms from previous year (statement of earned wages)
  • Email address
  • Other income (savings, child support, interest accounts)
  • Investment information (NOT retirement)
  • School codes

Step 3: Go to FAFSA on the web (

GEAR UP is here to help you with your FAFSA! See FAFSA Completion Event information or visit your school’s GEAR UP office make an appointment. 



Federal Grant Programs

Federal Pell Grant

  • Awarded to HIGH-NEED, aid eligible undergraduate students
  • Based on EFC from FAFSA
  • Only for programs up to first Bachelor’s degree
  • Portable (not attached to a specific school)
  • Max award in 2016-17 academic year was $5,775 for students with $0 EFC
  • Limited to equivalent of 6 years, full time enrollment

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)

  • Awarded to HIGH-NEED, aid eligible undergraduate students
  • $100 – $4,000 per year dependent on institutional availability and other financial aid awards

State Grant Programs

  • Merit and need based programs
  • Governor’s Scholarship
  • CT Minority Teacher Incentive Grant
  • English Language Learner Educator Incentive Grant

Federal Loans

Direct Stafford Loans

  • Student is the borrower, no cosigner or credit check
  • Department of Education is the lender
  • Amount varies per academic year and completed credits
  • First year $5,500 total, $3,500 may be subsidized
  • No repayment while in school at least half time (PT)
  • 6 month repayment grace period after graduation or drop below half time status
  • Max 10-30 year repayment period depending on plan and total borrowed

See Financial Aid Terminology



Scholarships come in a variety of shapes and sizes. There are many different areas to search for scholarship availability. The following list provides examples of where to start:

  • Local Businesses and Organizations
  • State Department of Education
  • School Counselors
  • College or University specific – academic, athletic, and/or talent based scholarships
  • Places of student and parent employment – many companies offer scholarships to children of their employees
  • Local banks and credit unions – ask your local bank teller

Helpful Websites

*Important Tip: There are scholarship scams out there. Do not pay for scholarship searches or scholarship applications.