Financial Aid FAQs

Can I afford to go to college?
What kind of financial aid is out there?
How do I apply for financial aid?
Can I apply for financial aid if members of my family are undocumented?
What do I need to do to get a scholarship?
How much financial aid is available at the University of Michigan?
Where can I learn more about financial aid?

Can I afford to go to college?

YES! Don’t be afraid to apply to colleges that you think you can’t afford. With the help of financial aid, the majority of students don’t pay the published price of tuition (also called the sticker price) and instead pay a much lower cost. There are many types of aid available, and colleges are usually willing to work with their admitted students to come up with a financial aid plan.

Click to learn more about the ACTUAL cost of college.

What kind of financial aid is out there?

Financial aid can come in many forms.  Click the bars below to learn about each type of aid that can help you pay for college.

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How do I apply for financial aid?

There is more than $185 BILLION available in financial aid for students who need assistance paying for college, but you MUST apply in order to qualify for aid.

STEP 1: The first step is to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) during the winter of your Senior year. Completing the FAFSA allows you to be considered for the greatest amount of financial aid from federal, state and college sources — and it’s free to fill out! The FAFSA becomes available online every year after January 1st, and you should try to file as close to this date as possible.

Use the FAFSA4caster to estimate your eligibility for aid.

 Complete the FAFSA online at

 Get help from CollegeBoard with your FAFSA here.

• Find additional resources to help with your FAFSA in English AND Spanish!  Click here.

STEP 2: After completing the FAFSA, it is time to look for other sources of financial aid. Reach out to the Office of Financial Aid at the college you plan to attend to learn about private scholarships and other funding opportunities.  Some organizations may also ask you to complete a CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE in addition to the FAFSA.

STEP 3: Finally, search online databases for additional private funding opportunities, like CollegeBoard’s FREE Scholarship Search Tool. Compile a list of scholarships, and decide which ones to apply for.  For outside scholarships, you may need to fill out an application form or write an essay.  Scholarships may vary in their application requirements and their deadlines, so it is important to stay organized!

Can I apply for financial aid if members of my family are undocumented?

When applying for financial aid, only the documentation status of the student is relevant.  Financial aid applications will never ask for your parent’s documentation status.  So, if you are a US citizen or a permanent resident, but your parents are not, you are still eligible for federal aid.

If you are NOT a US citizen or legal permanent resident, you are unfortunately not eligible for federal aid.  However, funding is still out there!  Click here to download a packet full of scholarship resources specifically for undocumented students, produced by MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund).  Furthermore, many universities have funding reserved for undocumented students.  All you need to do is call their Office of Financial Aid and ask.

You can also visit the section of CollegeBoard’s website for undocumented students to learn more.

What do I need to do to get a scholarship?

After completing your FAFSA to qualify for Federal Aid, you can use a  free Scholarship Search Tool to locate scholarships offered by the university you are applying to, or by private groups, such as non-profit organizations, large companies, and religious organizations.

Private scholarships are often geared towards very specific student profiles.  For example, there are scholarships that exist solely for Hispanic students who plan to study engineering or technology, or just for students who are active in community service.  You will need to search through listings of scholarships online or at your library to find the offerings that apply to you.  Different scholarships will have different requirements, but most will require an application form, and often an essay and/or a letter of recommendation.  Many scholarships also have a minimum GPA requirement.

No matter which scholarships you decide to apply for, here are some fool-proof tips:

  1. Give yourself time to search for scholarships.  Applying for financial aid is a process, and won’t happen overnight.
  2. Read the scholarship application carefully to avoid making any mistakes.
  3. Play close attention to deadlines, and get your applications in on time!
  4. Proofread your work and show it to someone else you trust to make sure it is the best it can be before you submit.

How much financial aid is available at the University of Michigan?

The University of Michigan is committed to making sure Michigan is an affordable choice for families.  In fact, it is the only public university in the state that has demonstrated the ability to cover 100% of demonstrated financial need for in-state students!

To learn more about applying for financial aid from the University of Michigan, visit our Office of Financial Aid’s website.  You will also find resources there that explain the types of aid available, the deadlines that you must follow to apply for aid, and details about how much aid students might receive.

Click to see an example of how much a real family might pay for the University of Michigan.

Where can I learn more about financial aid?

  • To learn about types of federal aid, completing the FAFSA, applying for aid, managing loans and more, visit
  • To learn about registering for a CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE and completing your PROFILE, click here.
  • To visit CollegeBoard’s portal on paying for college, complete with a College Savings Calculator and helpful webinars, go to
  • For a financial aid timeline for high school seniors, click here.
  • For a list of Frequently Asked Questions and answers from CollegeBoard, click here.
  • To learn more about receiving financial aid from the University of Michigan specifically, visit our Office of Financial Aid’s website for help applying for federal aid, university scholarships, and all of the deadlines.