College education is so important that the government helps folks save for it. A 529 plan is an investment for a child's education that is put aside in a mutual fund and grows in the account free of federal income tax. The money is withdrawn from the plan when the beneficiary is ready for college and used to pay tuition and other school related costs.
Visit StudentAid.gov, the U.S. Department of Education's official website for information about grants, loans, work-study, and tax credits for education and how to apply for them.
Soon after applying online, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). It will have all the information you submitted when you applied. Look it over carefully. If there are any mistakes, you'll be able to reopen your application and amend it.
You will also receive an Expected Family Contribution (EFC). This will be in the upper right hand corner of your SAR. This is the amount the government believes your household should be able to pay for education. Your school will use this number to figure out how much aid you will receive. For instance, if your EFC is $5,000 and the school costs $10,000 per year, you would be eligible for $5,000 in aid.
In addition to standard federal grants and loans, you might qualify for other forms of assistance. Some examples of students who could be eligible for more federal aid: