RESOURCES: Financial Aid/Scholarships

SCHOLARSHIPS, FINANCIAL AID AND SCHOOLS
While we do not currently offer any college scholarships for students affected by autism, Asperger Syndrome or their siblings, we recommend that you visit CollegeBoard.

We highly recommend talking with the college financial aid offices and there are many private universities offering financial scholarships based on the families financial situation (it is referred to as effective family contribution). Look for colleges that have Need-blind admission policies [this is different from Need-based].

According to Wisegeek.com, a need based scholarship may be offered by the school, a business, an organization, or a private endowment. A need based scholarship may take academics into account, but the primary criterion for qualification is demonstrating financial need. Students who have parents in a lower-middle income bracket may not have the funds to pay for college, but their parents make too much for them to qualify for government grants and other assistance primarily for students at or below the poverty level.

A need based scholarship helps bridge the financial gap. These scholarships usually have more generous financial qualification criteria, and many were endowed specifically for the student who wants to attend college, but whose parents make too much money for him to qualify for most federal programs. A need based scholarship may pay partial or full tuition, housing costs, and sometimes a books stipend.

A student should contact her high school guidance counselor to learn about available need based scholarships. The student usually starts the ball rolling by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Even if the student knows she probably will not qualify for federal aid, the FAFSA is used by many colleges and other organizations as the “official” statement of a student’s financial situation. She will need to get her parents’ help in filling out this form, since her parents will probably need to attach copies of their tax returns and other documents as proof of income.

A need based scholarship may also be based partially on academic performance. That is, a student must first meet the financial criteria, but then must have a certain grade point average or standardized test score to further qualify. Or, he may need to be accepted into a particular degree program at a college. For instance, the need based scholarship may stipulate that the student’s parents have a combined income of under $50,000, that the student have at least a 3.0 grade point average, and that he be accepted into the teacher education program at his chosen university. However, the financial consideration must be met first.

A student should also always talk to the financial aid department at her chosen school to see if a need based scholarship is offered. Sometimes, the financial aid counselors know about scholarships that the general public are not aware of. The student should also check online resources, which may also have lists of available need based scholarships. If a need based scholarship is available, it may be just what a student requires to help her attend the college of her choice.

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