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Increasing your Financial IQ

Thinking of pursuing a higher education?

Thinking of pursuing a higher education?

Pursuing a higher education, whether at a traditional college or university or at technical or trade school, is a big undertaking! Once you’ve decided the route you want to go, it’s important to understand how you’ll pay for your schooling. In general, you may pay with money that’s been saved on your behalf by you or others, part-time or full-time employment you plan to have during your education, and through various sources of financial aid or scholarships.

What is the FAFSA?

FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. You must fill the application out every year that you plan to go to school to receive federal loans, grants, and scholarships.

Tips on filling out The FAFSA

Get started on the FAFSA early, as soon as possible after you, or your parents, file your yearly income taxes. If you’re 25 or under, you’ll need to get your parents involved to get their filed income tax information from the previous year. You can learn more on the Studentaid.gov site.

Complete the online form on the official FAFSA website. There are other organizations that try to have you complete their FAFSA form and then charge you a fee for using their website.

Make sure to check on the processing. Call your school’s financial aid office to see if they’ve received it. Also, check with your financial aid office about additional paperwork that you need to get the award letter processed.


One of the ways some pay for their schooling is through scholarships. It’s important that you look at all your options when it comes to these. Even if you think you may not qualify, you should submit applications to numerous scholarship programs. You might be surprised at what you find out! You can check out ways to apply for scholarships here.

Loretta M. Burd Scholarship Program

Did you know Centra offers scholarships to those pursuing a higher education? You heard that right! The Centra Foundation supports those planning to further their education, no matter whether it’s a college, university, technical, or trade school. Each year, the Foundation awards $2,500 scholarships to a number of graduating high school students and adults looking to go back to school. Applications are accepted January 8 through March 3!