Financial Aid & Scholarships

Spreadsheet for Tracking  and Comparing College Costs and Managing Scholarship Applications

CFNC - MappingYourFuture_Scholarship_Tracking and COA.xlsx

Paying for College

FAFSA Changes Beginning 2023-24!

FAFSA Simplification: A Better FAFSA Process Means a Better Future for Borrowers

Types of financial aid

Financial aid can include gift aid (like grants and scholarships) and self-help (employment and loans), and be merit-based or need-based.

Sources of financial aid are diverse. Be sure to look into local opportunities (often found by working with your school counselor or by word of mouth), institutional scholarships from colleges and universities on your list, and national scholarship sites. 

CFNC has great FAFSA information tools on its website here to answer questions and help make sense of the process.

CollegeBoard's BigFuture website has information here on How to Complete the CSS Profile


Scholarships applications vary widely, but a few basic tips that will apply to almost any application. Also, see the spreadsheet above to help keep track of everything.

A bit about loans

Financial aid award letters from colleges and universities often include both gift aid and student loan offers. In order to be considered for this type of aid, you must check that you would like to be considered for it on the FAFSA. This does not mean you will receive this type of aid instead of gift aid, but simply shows you are open to it. You can always choose not to accept the loans later if you decide you don’t want it. 

Federal loan limits are set to keep students from being overloaded with student loan debt. Be aware of these limits and how they may affect student loans as well as parent loans. See for more.

Federal student and parent loans also differ in terms of repayment schedules. For parents, payments typically begin around winter break, unless you request that payments be deferred. You can always request a deferral and still make payments, but in order to defer, you must request that ahead of time. Federal loans typically do not go into the repayment period until six months after graduation, or if a student falls out of good academic standing. 


CFNC offers a wide range of other resources, from a financial aid primer course and videos on financial literacy to links to scholarship and grant applications and a smart borrower calculator. Visit their website for more, or follow CFNC on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. On Instagram, you can also follow our regional reps Skip Watts and Devon McCarthy-James. For our CFNC Statewide Spanish Services rep, follow Dr. JuanEs Ramirez.