Deer Lakes

School District

Financial Aid 101


DATE:      Thursday, October 5, 2023
TIME:       6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
 PLACE:  Deer Lakes High School Auditorium
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) opens December 2023, so current seniors who are planning to attend college next school year, this presentation is for you!

 Please join Amy Sawdey, PHEAA's Higher Education Access Partner in Allegheny County, for a Financial Aid Presentation and FAFSA Completion Discussion at Deer Lakes High School.  The Financial Aid Presentation will provide an early understanding of the financial decisions students need to make concerning higher education. This presentation will discuss higher education costs, the types of financial aid available, and how to apply for financial aid.

 The FAFSA Completion Discussion will then guide students and families through the process of filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The presentation will also provide an overview of the necessary requirements in order to complete the FAFSA and State Grant Application. During the presentation, participants will have the opportunity to ask questions at any time, as well as at the end of the presentation.

 The FAFSA is used to determine if students qualify for almost all forms of need-based financial assistance, including the Pennsylvania State Grant, Federal Pell Grant, many scholarships, work-study programs, many school-based awards, and federal student loans.

 Don’t miss out on this opportunity to find out about the student aid that is available to help finance college expenses.
 If you are unable to attend, you can find webinars on financial aid here:

 The deadline for submitting the FAFSA to determine eligibility for a need-based Pennsylvania State Grant is May 1 (or August 1 for first-time students entering programs of study at community colleges, business, trade or technical schools, and hospital schools of nursing); however, families should submit their FAFSA as early as possible after it becomes available in December, to ensure meeting earlier financial aid deadlines that may be required by selected schools.

 If you have any questions regarding the Deer Lakes Financial Aid Night, please reach out to the School Counseling Office.
College Bound? Don't forget to fill out the FAFSA!

Big changes are coming to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application for the 2024-2025 aid year! 
Historically, the FAFSA has been available beginning October 1st each year. However, because of significant changes to the application and the rebuild of the FAFSA processing system, the 2024-25 FAFSA will not be available until sometime in December 2023. 
The FAFSA changes are being implemented in phases, with full implementation of major provisions in the 2024–25 award year.  The changes will provide:
  • a more streamlined application process,
  • expanded eligibility for federal student aid, and
  • a new user experience for the FAFSA form.

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

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

  • 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.  Visit to review the alternative loan options that may best meet your family's needs.

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]