Financial Aid 101 and Scholarships

  • The information below includes both definitions of terms and websites regarding the sources of financial aid that may be used at a college, university or technical college.

    Glossary of Terms

    The glossary document includes the terminology needed to understand both financial aid as well as college terms.

    Even if a student is a high school freshman, the U. S. Department of Education encourages both students and parents to start thinking about money for college or technical college. The three terms listed below will help with the basics. Also, the federal Department of Education checklist is a valuable source of information.

    1. Scholarships & Grants – Scholarships and grants are funds to pay for your education that do not have to be paid back to the issuer. Grants are often based upon financial need, whereas scholarships are based upon merit (grades, accomplishments, etc.). Grants and scholarships can come from the government, private organizations, individuals, or colleges and schools.
    2. Loans – Student loans can originate from the federal government or private financial institutions. Make sure you understand who is making your loan and the terms that are associated with the interest that will be charged and the repayment schedule.
    3. Work Study – The federal government can provide some students with Federal Work Study opportunities. These programs allow students to work part-time to earn the money needed to help pay for tuition. Many schools also offer work-study programs on campus for students.



    GAfutures – A key website for both College and Career Information, and FAFSA Completion

    Financial Aid 101 – Presented by GA Student Finance Commission, a must for both students and parents to review!

    HOPE GPA – Connect directly to the GAfutures Georgia Student Information System HOPE and State Aid site.


    The Video below explains the difference between HOPE, Weighted, and Unweighted GPA's and how to calcuate it. 

    HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarship Information Dual Enrollment



    Scholarships and Financial Aid Information

    College and Career Websites

    There are many College and Career websites that will help a student find potential postsecondary information as well as scholarships. The links are included in this document Some of the well known sites are:

    BigFuture (The College Board) Big futures is a website that is updated and maintained by The College Board. Scholarships plus other financial aid and internship information are found on this site.

    Fastweb is a free resource with thousands of scholarships listed. In addition to the database of scholarships are career planning services.

    Peterson’s helps a student identify potential schools by making a match with needs to the institution. Financial aid and scholarship information is also provided. is a resource where both a good college fit for the potential student as well as scholarship information may be found. A scholarship that matches the student’s major, location and year in school saves valuable researching of scholarships time.

    University HQ is an independent organization that provides students with resources on career planning, scholarships, school selection and more.  

    FAFSA-Free Application for Federal Student Aid

    The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is an essential tool for qualifying for nearly all financial aid that is offered by both the government as well as educational institutions. Once the free document is completed, FAFSA utilizes the information provided by the student and his/her parent to generate the Student Aid Report (SAR) which determines the student’s Estimated Family Contribution (EFC). Beginning with the Class of 2016, the FAFSA can be completed during October using tax records from the prior year.

    Federal Student Aid

    Minds can achieve anything. We make sure they get to college. The U. S. Department of Education’s website provides information regarding the various types of financial aid offered through the federal government. The federal government provides grants, loans and work study funds for students who qualify.

    HOPE/Zell Miller and State Aid Programs

    HOPE GrantEligibility, Award Amounts and Application Procedures and Deadlines are on GAfutures.


    Local Scholarship Opportunities Through The Paulding Education Foundation

    Georgia Agricultural Scholarships

    Additional Local Scholarships (last update 2017)

    List of Requirements for Popular Scholarships