Financial Aid

The average cost of tuition and fees for one year at a public four-year college is approximately $5,000. The average cost of tuition and fees for one year at a private four-year-college is approximately $13,000. Books and supplies average a little over $4,600, while room-and-board averages between $4,000-$5,000.

As a general rule, private colleges are smaller and public colleges are less expensive. A student attending a public college/university in a different state, will have to pay the more expensive out-of-state tuition. For example, the tuition for one year at Ohio State university is approximately $6.000 for an Ohio resident, but around $17,000 for an out-of-state resident.

Financial aid is money that is given or lent to help students pay for their education. Financial aid often makes it possible for students to attend colleges they would have otherwise thought to be too expensive. Students and parents therefore should never assume that they cannot afford a particular college or university.

College Affordability Guide offers loans and scholarships, and advice on how to save money while going to college in Utah, can be found at

Need to understand Financial Aid terms better? Check out this website:

Types of financial aid available to students: There are basically four categories of financial aid.

  1. Grants: money that is given to a student as a result of financial need.
  2. Scholarships: money that is awarded based on academic achievement, an outstanding talent or skill, and/or financial need.
  3. College Work-Study: money a student earns by working a campus job 10-15 hours per week.
  4. Loans: borrowed money that must be paid back.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

How to fill out the FAFSA:

2020-2021 FAFSA Walk-Through Video

FAFSA Overview – Click here to view a video about  FAFSA    

You must submit a FAFSA in order to be considered for all federal financial aid and for most of the aid offered by individual schools. Regardless of the number of schools you apply to, you only need to fill out one FAFSA. The FAFSA is a federal form that asks for information on income and assets. Approximately 3-10 weeks after you complete the application, you will receive a SAR (Student Aid Report). A copy of your SAR is also sent to the colleges you designated on your FAFSA. Your SAR will tell you if you are eligible for a Pell Grant, and it will also inform you of your EGC (Estimated Family Contribution). Your EFC is the amount they have determined that you and your parents can afford to pay for your education the following year. If the cost of the college is more than your EFC, you have a financial need and should be eligible for financial aid.           

  1. Obtain a FSA ID for both student and one parent. (This username and password will be necessary to sign your FAFSA electronically.
  2. Seniors may apply beginning October 1st for upcoming fall semester. You do not want there to be any delay in processing your application. Even if you feel you will not qualify for aid because of your family income, you and your parents should complete the FAFSA.
  3. To be eligible for federal financial aid, eighteen-year-old males must be registered with the selective service.
  4. After the college’s financial aid office has reviewed the information from your FAFSA, it will determine your eligibility for financial aid and send you a financial aid award letter.
  5. Students and parents often find that they do not get as much money through grants and scholarships as they need. If you find yourself in this situation, you may want to consider taking out a loan. Lending institutions provide Stafford Loans to students and PLUS loans to parents. Repayment of a Stafford Loan begins after the student is out of school. The Subsidized Stafford Loan is for students who have shown a financial need based on a federal formula. The Unsubsidized Stafford Loan is for students without financial need. (The government pays the interest on Subsidized loans). PLUS loans are not based on financial need and repayment begins within 60 days. Interest accrues immediately.

If you do not want to take out a loan, there are other options to consider. The military branches offer a variety of programs to help students with college costs. Co-op programs provide students with the opportunity to earn money while gaining valuable work experience. Students who are concerned about college costs can also save money by attending a community college and then transferring to a four-year college after a year or two.

Assisting Undocumented Families

Come learn about assisting undocumented families (undocumented/DACAmented students, U.S. citizen students with undocumented parents, etc.) in the FAFSA and financial aid process.
 Register for ASk the StepUp Experts Webinar Assisting Undocumented Families


Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) offers 529 college saving plans. (

Salt Lake Community College – SLCC Promise helps eligible full-time students pay for their education by covering the cost of tuition and fees when federal grants fall short.  The Promise is intended to remove economic barriers and to provide a pathway for SLCC students to complete their degrees.  Find more information at

Quest Bridge is a nationally recognized program that connects high-achieving, low-income students to full four-year scholarships from 38 of the nation’s best colleges, including Amherst, Duke, MIT, Stanford, and Yale.  If you excel academically and typically earn A’s in the most challenging courses available and come from a household earning less than $65,000 annually (family of four with limited assets), or qualify for free or reduced lunch, visit for information.

Do you know about the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE)? It is a program that partners with western states in helping students attend colleges out-of-state for reduced tuition fees. Eligible states include: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, The Commonwealth of Northern Marina Islands, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

To find out if you are eligible for the WUE or to apply, contact your intended college’s financial aid office.