Middle school and high school are important times for early college and career planning, and many educational organizations and the U.S. Department of Education recommend that students begin planning for college as early as sixth grade. This early planning gives students the opportunity to take the necessary middle and high school courses to prepare them for postsecondary education, and align their educational goals with their current course taking and educational planning. Schools can play a key role in guiding early preparation for postsecondary education through fostering academic preparation and achievement, and providing college and career planning information. To that end the John Paul II High School Academic Advisors conduct student orientations and individual guidance sessions.
A comprehensive guide to college planning is published by Generation TX, a program of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. See College Planning & Financial Aid Guide.
Financial aid is a general term for any financial assistance given to a student for any type of postsecondary education, be it a four-year college, two-year college, trade or technical school.
Generally, financial aid is divided into two groups: need-based and merit-based.
There are several types of financial aid and a variety of sources of financial assistance. Remember, not all aid is based on financial need. Some awards are based on academic performance or selected skills.
An excellent recourse for information about financial aid is the Federal Student Aid Web site at studentaid.ed.gov.
Beware of scholarship services that attempt to charge a fee, or whose offer seem too good to be true. You should not have to pay for scholarship searches.