Deer Lakes

School District

Financial Aid 101


Click HERE for the Power Point Presentation from the 10/5/23 Financial Aid Night that was held at the high school.

There are also PHEAA Financial Aid literature, tip sheets & brochures available in the School Counseling Office.


CCAC would like to invite students and their parents/guardians to participate in upcoming FAFSA workshops. These workshops are designed to assist a person when completing the FAFSA application. There is no cost to attend this event and they are being offered at all CCAC campus locations and virtually.  Just scan the QR code on the flyer to register for a date and location that is best for you.  The financial aid application process can be a challenging process, visit us at one of the workshops to assist with this process.    Click HERE for flyer!
Justin A. Tatar, DEd
 Director of Community Partnerships & Outreach
 Community College of Allegheny County
 808 Ridge Avenue
 SSC 132
 Pittsburgh, PA 15212
College Bound? Don't forget to fill out the FAFSA!

The 2024–25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form is now available. You can complete the form to apply for financial aid to help pay for attendance at college between July 1, 2024, and June 30, 2025. 
The FAFSA changes are being implemented in phases, with full implementation of major provisions in the 2024–25 award year.  The changes are:

    • The New FAFSA was simplified and will require 36 questions to be completed, rather than the 108 on the previous version.
    • A new Student Aid Index (SAI) has replaced the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as a metric used to calculate need-based aid.
    • The FAFSA deadline for the 2024/2025 school year is June 30th.

Click HERE for USATODAY.COM article....very informative!!

What’s Changed for the 2024–25 FAFSA® Form?    Watch the YouTube Video:  

Click HERE for 10 reasons to fill out the FAFSA....even if you think you don't qualify for financial aid!

Saying the new FAFSA rollout has had some issues is stating the obvious. There have been numerous reported problems with the rollout. The US Department of Education has launched a page that outlines some of those issues and the solutions to them. There is a section that lists all the open issues and another that lists all the resolved issues. Here is a link:

  • Tuition & Fees
  • Room & Board
  • Books & Supplies
  • Transportation
  • Personal Expenses
  • Miscellaneous
TOTAL STUDENT BUDGET (remember, this is just for ONE year!)


Scholarships:   Scholarships are funds offered to students that do not have to be repaid and are typically offered based on a student's academic performance, major of study, talent or leadership potential.  Some scholarships may consider a student's financial need based on the results of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), but many are awarded without consideration for financial need.  Scholarship eligibility requirements and application processes vary depending on the donor source and the type of award.

Grants:  Similar to scholarships, grants refer to aid given to students that does not have to be repaid, provided that the student meets the eligibility criteria.  While the terms "grants" and "scholarships" are often used interchangeably, grants typically refer to aid that is given based on a student's financial need according to the FAFSA.  Grants usually cannot be applied for separately and are often awarded automatically when a student applies for financial assistance.

Work-Study:   Consider working on campus.  Many schools have multiple part-time employment opportunities for students.  While some jobs are federally supported like Federal Work Study (FWS), many schools have jobs on campus outside FWS.  Sometimes even a part-time job can help you earn up to $1,500 per semester.  Inquire with your college's Financial Assistance Office for more information.

Special State Aid Programs:  Some of these programs require financial need.  Eligibility criteria can be found under Funding Opportunities at   In addition to demonstrating financial need, you must also meet certain criteria.  Here are the programs available:

Military State Aid Programs:  PHEAA in partnership with the PA Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA), administers education programs available to soldiers and their dependents with the goal of helping service members and their families afford higher education.  To qualify, students must generally be enrolled in a degree or certificate curriculum, course of study, or training program required for entrance into a specific career at an approved Pennsylvania institution of higher learning as determined by PHEAA.  Here are the programs available:
  • PA National Guard Educational Assistance Program (EAP)
  • PA National Guard Military Family Education Program  (MFEP)

Loans:  Loans are funds that may be used to fund a student's academic expenses that must be paid back to a lending institution.  All students who file the FAFSA are automatically eligible to receive a limited amount of Federal Direct Student Loans from the Department of Education, regardless of financial need or credit history.  All Federal Direct Student Loan offer a fixed rate of interest and no payments are due on the loans until after the student finishes school or ceases to be enrolled at least half time.  These loans have two groups, subsidized and unsubsidized.  If the loan is subsidized, the loan's interest is covered by the Education Department while the student is enrolled (at least half time) in college.  The interest on unsubsidized loans begins accruing as soon as the loan is disbursed.

In addition to the Federal Direct Student Loan, parents should consider applying for a Federal Parent PLUS Loan, which also offers a fixed rate of interest and the option to defer payments until after the student finishes college or ceases to be enrolled at least half time.  Parents may apply for any amount up to the cost of attendance, but approval is subject to a credit evaluation.  Students whose parents are not approved to receive a PLUS Loan may receive an additional amount of Direct Student Loan funding with proof of a Parent Plus Loan Denial.

Students wishing to borrow funds in addition to the Federal Direct Student Loan may apply to private lenders for additional educational loans.  These types of loans are referred to as "alternative" loans and often require a student to apply with a credit worth co-signer.  Starting interest rates will vary by lender and are based on the credit evaluation of the co-signer or the primary borrower if a co-signer is not needed.  Interest rates for alternative loans can be variable and may change over the life of the loan based on market conditions. 

Federal & Additional Aid Programs:  The federal government offers several financial aid programs for students and families.  You may qualify for these programs by completing the FAFSA; additional applications may be required based on the program.  Visit for the most current program information and any additional programs.
  • Federal Pell Grant Program
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) Program
  • Federal Work-Study Program (FWSP)
  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program
  • Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance (DEA) Program
  • Chafee Education and Training Grant (CHAFEE ETG) Program 
  • Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) Program
  • Segal AmeriCorps Education Award Program 

HELPFUL FINANCIAL AID/FAFSA MATERIALS   PHEAA's FREE interactive tool where you can learn to make smart decisions about your career choice and paying for higher education.


Have questions? Contact one of your School Counselors OR expert Amy Sawdey, PA Higher Education Access Partner! Mrs. Sawdey can be reached by email at [email protected]