Paying for College

Jan, 4 2021

Image of a stack of one dollar bills with a green overlay with blue text that reads paying for college

Paying for college can be a challenge. Almost everyone, regardless of income, can qualify for some form of financial aid. The Maricopa Community Colleges offer various resources to support you in paying for college. Making sense of the resources available to students can make financial aid easy to understand. 

Complete the 2021-2022 FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) determines students’ eligibility to be considered for federal financial aid – grants, loans, and work-study each year. It is critical to apply each year as FASFA does not automatically get renewed each year. Federal student aid has more than $150 billion available to help pay for school. Take the time to apply.

Grants and Scholarships

Scholarships and grants should be every student’s priority as it is free money. Grants are funds given to students by the government to pay for college that does not need to be paid back. Scholarships are a form of financial aid provided to students based on merit or need. Maricopa Community Colleges offer two kinds of scholarships, those funded through the District and those funded through the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation. The difference? 

  • Maricopa Community College District Scholarships are publicly funded programs that require applicants to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students can apply for as many scholarships that best fit their academic achievements, goals, volunteer history, and other attributes here.
  • Maricopa Foundation scholarships include privately funded opportunities that are open to all Maricopa Community Colleges students and, in some cases, non-Maricopa colleges and universities, as well. The application cycle for Fall 2021 opens February 1, 2021 – April 16, 2021. One application submission considers applicants for hundreds of scholarships. To check out the application requirements and scholarships available, click here

Students can also find outside scholarships through a simple Google search. Our colleges offer scholarship application assistance to walk students through the application process, share application tips, and answer any questions. To sign up for a one on one session with a scholarship coordinator, make an appointment here.

Federal Work-Study

Federal Work-Study (FWS) is a camps based program that provides funding for eligible students. FWS can be an excellent way to work and gain experience in each student’s field while earning money to pay educational expenses. FWS does not require students to pay the money back. Students can verify their eligibility for the FWS program with their college’s Financial Aid Office.

Monthly payment plans

Maricopa Community Colleges offers students the ability to enroll in a Payment Plan. The payment plan option helps students secure classes through small monthly tuition payments instead of one large one. Students can sign-up through the student center after the payment schedule is provided. Cost to participate?

  • $15 deposit that is applied to your account
  • $20 per semester, non-refundable enrollment fee
  • $30 returned payment fee (if payment is returned)

Federal Student Loans 

Student Loans are one type of Financial aid available to you if you qualify. Students can receive three types of federal loans: subsidized, unsubsidized, or a direct plus loan. Federal student loan amounts do not exceed the college's Cost of Attendance minus any other student aid received. It is critical to understand that all three loans must be repaid-with interest and that each loan is assessed a 1% processing fee by the federal government.

  • Subsidized Direct Loan

Students must demonstrate financial need as determined by FAFSA and be enrolled at least half time (6 credit hours or more per semester) at one of the Maricopa Community Colleges to receive a subsidized direct loan. Subsidized loans do not begin to accrue interest until six months after graduation or if students drop below half-time enrollment.

  • Unsubsidized Direct Loan

Students must be enrolled at least half time (6 credit hours or more per semester) to be eligible for an Unsubsidized Direct Loan. Eligibility is not based on financial need. Unsubsidized loans charge interest over your loan term. A subsidized and unsubsidized loan both have a low, fixed interest rate.

  • Federal Direct PLUS Loan (Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students)

The Parent PLUS Loan, a Federal Direct PLUS Loan, is an option for parents of undergraduate students to help pay for educational expenses. The maximum amount of funds available to be disbursed is the Cost of Attendance minus any other aid that the student is receiving. If eligible, students must be enrolled at least half time (taking six or more credits per semester). Like unsubsidized loans, interest is charged when the loan is distributed until the loan is paid off. 

Understanding student loans can be tricky, but that is why the Student Loan Support Services team is available to answer any questions or concerns regarding Federal Student Loans. 



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