College Counseling

Scholarships & Financial Aid

Financial Aid & Merit Scholarship Information

List of 8 frequently asked questions.

  • Financial Aid

    Some of the best things in life may be free, but college costs are at an all-time high--so is uncertainty among students and their families about the ability to pay the bills. Contrary to what you may have heard,
    help is available -- and lots of it -- in the form of financial aid. However, with costs going up and the amount of financial aid remaining about the same, there may not be enough help for everyone who needs
    it. Undoubtedly, students and parents will be paying more toward the costs of an education. But there is also no question that you can improve your chances of getting financial aid by learning about it and by
    planning ahead.
  • What is financial aid?

    Financial aid is help for meeting college costs, both direct educational
    costs (tuition, fees, and books) and personal living expenses (room and board, personal expenses, and travel). Sometimes students are surprised to discover that financial aid can help them pay for living expenses. Broadly, there are two kinds of financial aid available: aid based on need, as determined by the College Scholarship Service, federal guidelines, or institutional policies, and merit scholarships awarded for academic excellence, athletic prowess, artistic talent, leadership, or other criteria.
  • How does financial aid work?

    In order to receive financial aid, you must demonstrate need. “Need" is the difference between what it costs to attend a particular college and what you and your family can afford to pay toward those costs. Your financial aid eligibility is usually equal to the amount of your demonstrated need. Since the amount you are able to pay stays the same whether the costs are high or low, you would be eligible for different amounts of aid at different colleges. In fact, you could end up paying the same amount at a high-cost college as you would at a low-cost college. Even if your family is relatively affluent, you might qualify for aid if educational costs are high enough.
  • Need-based financial aid

    Individual colleges determine financial aid packages based upon the
    information provided by you on several forms -- the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the College Scholarship Service (CSS) PROFILE, and the college’s own institutional forms. These forms
    will help the financial aid office determine the estimated family contribution (EFC) to the student’s educational costs. The difference between the cost of attending the college and the EFC defines the need.
    The individual college will put together a financial aid package designed to meet that need. At most colleges, a package will include a combination of grant, loan, and employment. Families receiving financial aid from MBA should note that college financial aid packages will differ from high school financial aid packages. Your counselor and the Net Price Calculators on the college web sites can help you anticipate college costs.

    Grants are funds that do not have to be repaid. Grants are usually awarded on the basis of need alone and can come from a variety of sources -- Pell Grants (federal money), state grants (HOPE), and grant
    money from the college's own resources.

    Loans must be repaid, generally after you have graduated or left school, and usually have lower interest rates than commercial loans. The amount of these federal student loans are capped to ensure that students are not overburdened with debt when they leave school. There are also federal loans available to parents if their child is enrolled in college at least half-time and making satisfactory academic progress. Parents may borrow up to the difference between the cost of education and other financial aid awarded. The loan, which is not based on parents’ income, has a variable interest rate and repayment begins immediately.

    College Work Study Program involves earning money as payment for a job, usually one arranged for you by the college. Students normally work up to ten hours a week in an on-campus job selected by the student. The money comes to the student in the form of a paycheck and can be used for college expenses. Eligibility of work study is determined by information gathered from the FAFSA and/or the CSS PROFILE.

    Not every college can meet full need for every student; it is increasingly common for a student to be admitted to a college but denied the full amount of financial aid needed to attend. This practice is called
    “gapping.” Some of the best endowed colleges guarantee that they will meet 100% of demonstrated need; however, many schools consider financial need while making their admission decisions. Institutions that can afford to offer financial aid to all aid applicants have a “need blind” admission policy. “Need aware” schools acknowledge that their financial aid budgets are not big enough to fund all applicants who apply for need based aid; the admissions process at “need aware” schools will be slightly more competitive for those applying for financial aid.
  • Applying for financial aid

    The most crucial part of applying for financial aid is adhering to deadlines for each form. All students and parents applying for aid at any public college or university will have to complete the Free Application for
    Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) which comes from the Department of Education. The FAFSA can be filed as early as October 1. It will call for figures from your tax return from the previous year. The form is sent
    to a central processor who analyzes it and sends the results, called a needs analysis, to the colleges and scholarship programs that have been designated by the applicant.

    Many families applying to private colleges will also have to file the CSS PROFILE, a customized financial aid form produced by the College Scholarship Service through the College Board. The PROFILE is tailored to reflect the specific requirements of the various colleges to which the student is applying and from which aid is being sought. There is a fee for the preliminary registration form in addition to a charge for each institution listed in a student’s PROFILE. You must check the college’s
    application materials to see if the PROFILE is required and when it must be submitted. Each college has its own deadline.

    In addition to these standardized forms, some colleges still require short forms of their own, and some will request a certified copy of the most recent 1040 form. Again, each college has its own deadline for
    financial aid applications. Make sure you know what it is for each college.

    Shortly after you submit your FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) indicating your expected family contribution. The colleges that you designate will receive this information as well. They will use this information in combination with the data they collect from the CSS PROFILE and/or their own forms to come up with a financial aid package. If you feel that any financial aid package is inappropriate, it is best to contact the financial aid administrator at the college directly. They will be interested in any supplemental data you may wish to provide. Letters explaining any unusual or special circumstances affecting the family's financial situation are welcomed by financial aid offices and should be sent directly to financial aid offices of the individual institutions.
  • Merit Scholarships

    Aside from the National Merit program and competitive scholarships sponsored by businesses and community service organizations, "no-need" awards are generally awarded by an institution specifically for use at that institution. They might also be sponsored by a religious, ethnic, or professional group for students who belong to that religious or ethnic group or aspire to a specific profession. Some businesses also sponsor scholarships for the children of employees. Students should inquire wherever they apply about no-need scholarships. Some excellent private colleges have no-need scholarships for outstanding students. Students should inquire at their churches or synagogues and parents should inquire at their places of employment or in their civic groups about scholarships available from those sources.

    The College Counseling Office has information on computer-aided searches for outside scholarships. One of the best ways of obtaining this information is visiting the website; this is a free
    service, sponsored by corporations advertising on the site, which allows students to find scholarships that match their individual profiles.

    Most private colleges to which MBA students apply do not award athletic scholarships. Those colleges and universities that do award athletic scholarships have a limited number, and, unless a student is among
    the players most sought after, he or she is not likely to be awarded an athletic grant.

    ROTC scholarships, only for use at colleges and universities with an ROTC program, cover tuition and books and provide an additional monthly stipend. Students interested in these scholarships should begin
    investigating them immediately.
  • Other tips for financial aid applicants

    • Do not eliminate a college because you think it costs too much. Apply for admission and financial aid
    and see what happens. Most colleges can meet the demonstrated need.
    • Keep copies of everything, including your FAFSA and PROFILE forms.
    • In April, if the financial aid package offered does not accurately reflect your family’s situation, it is
    possible to request reconsideration. Your counselor can help you if you need to file a financial aid appeal.
    • Rely on individual college financial aid officers rather than costly computer service organizations or
    scholarship/financial aid “experts” who solicit your business through the mail.
  • Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship Program

    Recipients Must:
    • Have been a Tennessee resident for one year by September 1 of the year of application date. For students beginning spring and summer terms, residency determined by February 1 as of application date.
    • Dependent children of U.S. military, Tennessee National Guard on active duty, Department of Defense employees, or full-time religious workers who maintain Tennessee residency while stationed out-of-state are eligible.
    • Apply with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), available at To receive a paper FAFSA, call the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC) 1-800-342-1663 or (615) 741-1346. Applications must be received by September 1st for fall semester, February 1st for spring and summer semesters. Early application is recommended. Deadlines for grants vary for each Tennessee school. Please visit your schools website for their deadlines.
    Link to Tennessee scholarships

List of 6 items.

  • Guide to Nashville Scholarships

    Guide to Nashville Scholarships: Your FREE guide to Nashville/Middle TN based scholarship information! A source for local scholarship information provided exclusively to Nashville area High School students and Nashville based College students.
  • Free App for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

    Free App for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): This link will take you directly to the U.S. government site where you can complete the federal financial aid form on-line. Almost all colleges and universities require this form to be completed to apply for need-based aid. PLEASE NOTE: Even if you believe that your family will not qualify for need-based assistance, completion of the FAFSA is also required for students and parents who wish to borrow funds from federally sponsored loan programs like Stafford Loans and PLUS (Parent Loans for Undergraduate Study) Loans. Additionally, all students hoping to qualify for the Tennessee Lottery's Hope Scholarship program must also comple the FAFSA. In all cases the FAFSA may not be filed before October 1st of a student's senior year in H.S.
  • FastWeb

    FastWeb: One of the largest databases on the internet, FastWeb is a good place to begin to search for outside scholarship opportunities. PLEASE NOTE: in addition to searching sites like this, it's perhaps even more important to search the financial aid and scholarship sections on the websites of every college or university to which you apply. Often, institutionally specific scholarship deadlines occur prior to stated admissions application deadlines.
  • FinAid!

    FinAid!: Another resource for scholarship searches.
  • CSS Financial Aid Profile

    CSS Financial Aid Profile: In addition to completing the FAFSA, some colleges and universites also require families to complete a more detailed application to fully assess a family's financial need.

    Scholarships.Com: Free college scholarship search. Free access to information on over 2.7 million college scholarships and grants worth over $19 billion.

    Please visit Family Connection, by cliking on the image below, to view scholarship information.


Montgomery Bell Academy

4001 Harding Road
Nashville, TN 37205
(615) 298-5514