Financial Aid and Scholarships

Applying for financial aid and scholarships is an important step in the college planning and application process. Please review the resources below to guide you through this process.

Scholarships are awesome, and we want to help you find them! A scholarship is money given to a student that doesn’t need to be paid back. The criteria for earning varies by each scholarship, but most are based on your academic performance (Merit-Based), your financial need (Need-Based), or are specific to a particular group (area of study/major, gender, ethnicity, etc). 

Most students receive most of their financial aid through the college they attend. To help find out which colleges offer the most financial aid and find other great information on everything to do with paying for college, we recommend the College Board’s PAY FOR COLLEGE site.

For scholarships that are not associated with a college or university, they are categorized by National, State, Local and SVVSD Local (only open to students attending a SVVSD high school). Remember most scholarships can be used at any post-secondary institution, including trade, technical, and certificate programs.

For National, State and Local (Boulder County, etc) we recommend using one of the following scholarship search tools:

SVVSD Local Scholarships are on Naviance
If you need help with a specific scholarship or just getting started please see your counselor. 

Students and their parents must complete the FAFSA in order to be eligible to receive federal financial aid.  Students and parents can request a PIN now (, but cannot complete the FAFSA until after October 1st each year (this should happen during your senior year).

​CSS Profile –
Online application through CollegeBoard that collects information used by almost 400 colleges and scholarship programs to award financial aid from sources outside the federal government. The CSS Profile is an online application that collects information used by nearly 400 colleges and scholarship programs to award non-federal aid. (For federal aid you must complete the FAFSA, available Oct. 1) Some colleges may require the CSS Profile from both biological/adoptive parents in cases of divorce or separation. 

Understanding the financial aid package can be confusing, so you will want to understand a few key words to make it easier. Paying for school can include; grants, scholarships, federal loans, private loans, work study, unsubsidized loans, and subsidized loans. Understanding each grant, loan, or scholarship is essential before you accept and sign your name.

 Financial aid, often based on financial need, that does not need to be repaid unless, for example, you withdraw from school and owe a refund. (Federal Student Aid)

Work-Study: A federal student aid program that provides part-time employment while you are enrolled in school to help pay your education expenses. (Federal Student Aid)

Loans: All student loans are borrowed funds that you must repay with interest. (Federal Student Aid)

Scholarships: Most scholarships are merit or financial need based. This means that they are awarded to students with certain qualities, such as proven academic or athletic ability, and/or financial need. Many scholarships have rules — maintaining a certain GPA, for example — that you have to follow to continue receiving aid. (CollegeBoard)
More Resources:

Niwot High School