27 Completing the Necessary Forms To receive financial aid, you must complete and submit the necessary forms. The FAFSA is the most important of these forms. The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) – Because most financial aid awards are based on need, it's necessary to have a way to determine how much a family can afford to pay for college. The FAFSA is the federal form that’s used to determine this amount. In order to receive any government aid, you must complete a FAFSA. For information on the FAFSA, go to www.fafsa.gov. Grants – When you complete a FAFSA, you automatically apply for a Pell Grant, and in many states, a state grant. Pell Grant – The Pell Grant provides billions of dollars each year to lower-income families. This grant is available to students in all states, and it can be used to pay for expenses at any accredited college. State grants – All states have financial aid programs that award grants to students who go to college in their home state. In most states you apply just by filling out a FAFSA. Scholarships – Even though it’s not easy to obtain a scholarship, students who are willing to invest the time and energy often find that their ef- forts pay off handsomely. If you're looking for scholarships, tell everyone. Check for scholarship opportunities with your place of employment, your parent’s place of employment, your church, and any organizations to which you or your parents belong. Also search for scholarships online. These websites are able to match a student’s interests, plans, background, and special circumstances with thou- sandsofgovernment,community,andcampus-basedscholarshipprograms. www.fastweb.com www.scholarships.com Figuring out how to pay for college can be confusing, but there are people who can help. School counselors can provide information and advice, and all colleges have financial aid counselors available toassiststudentsandparents. There is also a wealth of information online at sites such as www.studentaid.ed.gov.