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Who gets financial aid?

June 12, 2013 · Posted by Barbara Trevino

People who are eligible for financial aid are those who can prove they are low-income and “need” aid. “Need” is a yardstick created by the federal government. Today’s yardstick says you are eligible for need-based financial aid if your annual taxable household income for a family of four is $35,325 or less (or $17,235 for just you alone). While you may be eligible for financial assistance, you must apply early, because aid is distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

In addition to federal financial assistance in the form of grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study, most states provide a little help as well. Individual colleges also offer help if you meet certain standards. There are some private sources of aid—for example from foundations and businesses. The application process is complicated and time consuming, but often worthwhile in the end. If you need help filling out financial aid forms, contact the Educational Opportunity Center at