Financial Aid

Financial Aid for 2 or 4 year colleges or Vo/Tech schools comes in three forms:

  • Grants or Scholarships: This is aid that does not have to be repaid. Awards may be based on financial need, academic ability, athletic ability, talent, leadership or service. Internet access is a great source for scholarship searches.
  • Loans: Loans must be repaid, generally after you have graduated or left school. Some have low interest rates.
  • Student Work Study: This aid may mean a job that the college finds for you or work that you find on your own.

Financial Aid can come from several different sources - the federal government, state government, colleges themselves, employers and private organizations, such as civic clubs. Students need to be active in exploring all the possibilities, following through on applications and observing all deadlines. Extensive resource materials are available in the Career Center.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the CSS Profile Service- These are the two most widely used means to estimate the family's ability to pay for college or technical school. Results are sent to colleges whenever students designate their choice. The FAFSA and Profile will be distributed to students as they become available (usually in November or early December). Awarding of financial aid rests with the individual college which directly informs students if they are eligible for financial aid. Some colleges may request completion of an additional in-house form.

Academic Common Market: This program is intended to allow degree-seeking Maryland residents enrolled in undergraduate programs of study not offered at a Maryland public college/university to be charged in-state tuition in certain out-of-state institutions.

Guaranteed Access Grant: This MD Program provides a grant, money which does not have to be paid back,to help qualified students cover the cost of full time study at a Maryland college/university. There are income limits. Applications are available in the College & Career Center. See Ms. Maloney for questions and guidelines.

Federal Financial Aid Programs

Check the College & Career Center in the fall for additional information and any new federal guidelines.

  • Pell Grants- Grants from $55.00 to $3,000 per year to eligible students attending approved colleges and technical schools. This is based on family financial need and may be used to attend any college or school.
  • FSEOG - Grants of up to $4,000.00 per year to students with exceptional financial need. This money does not have to be paid back.
  • Federal Perkins Loans- Loans for a maximum of $3,000 per year for students with exceptional need. These loans are paid back at five percent (5%) interest.
  • Federal Stafford Loans- This insured loan program will loan from $2,625.00 to $10,000 per year through local commercial banks or a DIRECT Loan program at the college. Check around for the best DEAL! Loans are repayable at an interest rate not to exceed 8.25%. To qualify, a student must demonstrate need.
  • Federal Plus Loans- PLUS Loans are for parent borrowers. The amount borrowed is limited to the "cost of education minus other financial aid awarded." There is no needs test but borrowers may have to undergo a credit analysis. Repayment begins in 60 days.
  • Federal College Work Study - Work study is awarded to students who demonstrate need by filling out the FAFSA. These students may work up to 20 hours/week at jobs available on or off campus.

ROTC Scholarships - ROTC Scholarship information is available in the Career Center. The SAT I is required and the deadline to apply is December 1 of your senior year. You must apply and be accepted at a college where there is a ROTC unit before you will receive a scholarship.

U.S. Military Academy Appointments- Contact your senator or congressperson during your junior year for application procedures to obtain a nomination. Required: letters of recommendation, a high school transcript through the 11th grade, and SAT I scores, preferably from the spring of your junior year. Academy catalogs are available in the Career Center.

National and Local Scholarships - As information comes to the College & Career Center regarding various scholarships, it is passed on to students by way of the PA announcements, Eagles Bulletin, Family Connection and College & Career Center resources.

Financial Aid Night- A college financial aid information meeting with special emphasis on how to complete the FAFSA (Financial Aid Form) is held at Seneca Valley in the Fall . This meeting, is a MUST for parents of seniors and highly recommended for parents of juniors. For more complete information, pick up a copy of "Funding Your Education" or order a free copy from the US Dept. of Education's web site.

Financial Aid Forms

FASFA - ALL colleges, 2 and 4 year, and accredited vocational/technical schools require the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. This form determines if your family qualifies for many grants, scholarships, loans and work-study.  Colleges use the FAFSA to determine your student’s “Financial Aid Package.” Even if you feel that you won’t qualify for anything but a loan, you may qualify for a lower interest loan by filling out this form. This form can not be mailed or sent on-line until January 1, but MUST be sent BEFORE college/university deadlines, which vary.  For the University of Maryland, the deadline to submit the FAFSA is February 1.  For all Maryland State grants and scholarships the deadline is March 1. This application is available in November in the College & Career Center or on-line at  

Video: FAFSA Overview
Video: After the FAFSA

A financial aid workshop to assist parents and students in filling out this form is held in the Fall at Seneca Valley. At this workshop you will learn how to handle the basic paperwork of requesting financial aid for your child; planning for 2 or 4 year college or voc/tech/professional school after high school. A guest presenter will lead the workshop and explain how you can get the most financial aid available for your family. You will be going through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) section by section, just as you will be filling it out yourself. 

CSS Profile - This form is used in addition to the FAFSA by some colleges and universities. Students should read the schools' material to find out if they need this form. Most selective schools will require the CSS. You can go on line at for the CSS PROFILE form. This form is no longer available in hard copy. You can get a CSS registration Profile Guide from Mrs. Maloney in the College & Career Center if needed. There is a cost associated with filing the CSS.

Institution Forms - Some colleges and universities also require their own financial forms. Please check the schools' requirements to ascertain if this is needed. If a college requires its own form, you must contact the financial aid office at that college to obtain the necessary materials.

Financial Aid Information Links 

Fee Waivers

Free & Reduced Meal Application

Tax Information for Students

Sallie Mae Video Series