Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
The FAFSA is to be completed as soon after October 1 of a student’s senior year as possible. This form determines if a student is eligible for any government grants (need-based) and/or government loans. The FAFSA is only available online and should be accessed at the FAFSA website. It is a FREE application. Parents are encouraged NOT to use any site that requires a fee for completion. The College Counselor will provide assistance throughout the year and advertise any workshops in the St. Louis area held to assist families in completing the FAFSA form. Visit our Calendar page for RSHS sponsored workshops.
The CSS Profile is a financial aid document typically used by selective colleges and universities. The information obtained by this form helps these schools to award nonfederal student aid funds and is more in-depth (taking into account things such as car payments, house payments, private school tuition, etc.). Visit CollegeBoard for more information or to complete the form.
Net Price Calculator
How much will you have to pay for college? Use the following resources to help you calculate the cost for each college of interest.
- College Website - You can find a Net Price Calculator on every college's website. The easiest way to find it is to use the search bar on the college website.
- U.S. Department of Education - also has a Net Price Calculator.
- SCOIR - watch the below video to learn more about calculating college costs.
Basic Financial Aid Terms
Generally, merit-based aid is awarded to students on the basis of their academic and/or extracurricular credentials; this money does not have to be repaid. Some institutional aid (money offered as a "discount" on tuition and fees and/or room and board) combines merit and need in consideration of what to award.
Sources for scholarships:
- Institutions: money offered by the college or university as a "discount" on tuition and fees and/or room and board
- Private: money offered by private organizations or clubs. Depending on the sponsor, this money may be offered only for 1 year (i.e., Fenton Area Chamber of Commerce) or maybe renewable
- State: money offered by the Department of Higher Education or, in the instance of the State of Missouri, by the Coordinating Board for Higher Education, as a way to keep talented and bright residents in-state for higher education (i.e., "Bright Flight")
A form of financial aid, based on need, which you do not have to repay.
Sources for grants:
- Federal Pell Grant: based exclusively on need, awarded to families with high financial need (generally at or below poverty level) with awards varying from student to student, may have to be repaid if the student withdraws before the end of the semester
- Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG): Need-based aid with limited funding provided to each institution (awards are set by college/university), may have to be repaid if the student withdraws before the end of the semester
- Institutional: need-based, with institution determining amounts and limited funds available; may have to be repaid if the student withdraws before the end of the semester
Money that MUST be repaid. Visit the FAFSA website for a comparison between federal and private student loans.
Types of federal loans:
- Subsidized: need-based government pays the interest during in-school and grade, or "deferment," period
- Unsubsidized: not need-based and the student responsible for the interest while enrolled in school and during the grace period
Other types of loans:
- Parent loans (PLUS): not need-based but approval is credit-based, the interest rate is capped
- Alternative loans: Buyer beware! Loans are intended to "fill the gap." Fees and interest rates vary and interest accrues while in school.