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Financial Aid Basics

Paying for college is a challenge for most families. The following information is meant to offer financial resources to you and your child. For more information, please see your counselor.

Lakota West Financial Aid Presentation


Types of Financial Aid

There are four types of financial aid available to college students:

  1. Scholarships
    1. These are typically merit-based funds that do not have to be repaid.
    2. These can come from the college/university, local business/organizations, high schools, etc.
  2. Grants
    1. These are need-based funds that do not have to be repaid.
    2. These are typically applied for by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  3. Work-Study
    1. This aid is earned through employment at the college/university.
  4. Loans
    1. These are borrowed monies repaid, typically after graduation.
    2. Unsubsidized loans accrue interest while a student is enrolled in college.
    3. Subsidized loan are awarded based on financial need and interest is deferred while the student is enrolled in College/University.

About the FAFSA

This is a FREE government form that is electronically sent to the colleges/universities that students have applied to and can make them eligible for financial aid. This is often the first step to begin the financial aid process for a college/university. FAFSA stands for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid Use the following tips when completing your FAFSA: 

  • In general, most colleges and universities have a priority filing deadline of Feb. 15 for the FAFSA. Many families do not have their taxes completed by this date, so simply choose the option to estimate on the FAFSA based on last years’ tax information. Once taxes are filed and everything is correct, go back and change/update the FAFSA with the final, correct information.
  • Be sure to send the FAFSA to all of the colleges/universities to which the student is applying. Once documents are received, the colleges/universities will create aid packages and send them to prospective students later in the spring.

Where to start with the FAFSA

Students and parents need a PIN to electronically sign the FAFSA. Apply for a PIN here.

Complete the FAFSA