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How Financial Aid Works & How Canadians Can Apply Explained By Crimson Admission Experts

26 JAN 2022

Let's face it. US universities are expensive. It's a massive investment without a guaranteed return on investment (ROI). Maybe you think university will help you get a fulfilling job with a high salary. Or perhaps you want to pursue a specific career path so you can use your education to benefit others. Whatever your reasons, the cost of tuition shouldn't deter you from achieving your dreams.

What Is Financial Aid?

Financial aid is money you can use to help pay for university. According to the Education Data Initiative, "86% of university students benefit from some form of financial aid". You can receive aid based on financial need or merit. Financial aid for international applicants comes in many forms, including scholarships, grants, work-study programs, loans, tax credits, and other programs.

How Does Financial Aid Work?

Financial aid comes from many sources, including universities, foundations, and agencies. It's awarded based on need. You must pay back some forms of financial aid, and some don't require repayment. To be eligible for need-based financial aid, you must apply by answering questions about your finances to help determine if you have the means to pay for university. If you're interested in scholarships or other forms of financial aid, you may have to fill out additional applications.

What is FAFSA & How Can I Receive Financial Aid as a Canadian?

In the US, need-based financial aid is based on your family's financial needs. If you can demonstrate need, you'll receive this type of financial aid. Students are required to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) where students will have access to federal, state, and university financial aid. Nearly 18 million students (66%) apply for federal financial aid through FAFSA each year. Unfortunately, international students cannot apply for US federal student aid.

However, College Board’s CSS Profile is an online financial aid application used by over 400 universities and scholarship programs to award students with financial aid based off the information students and families provide.

Canadian students are able to create their profile and report their financial information for universities to review.

**Students who have a dual US-Canadian citizenship are eligible to apply for US federal financial aid.**

What Is Merit-Based Financial Aid?

You can receive merit-based financial aid through scholarships. You can earn these scholarships for high achievements during high school, including academics, athletics, music, arts, and many other categories.


Need help with your financial aid applications? Our dedicated team of financial aid advisors and experts understand the process of financial assistance, can help you with your applications, and answer any questions you may have about financial aid. Book a free consultation to learn more about our scholarships and financial aid options

Top US Universities that Offer Need-Blind Policy to Canadian Applicants

Need-blind admission refers to a university admissions policy in which an institution does not consider the applicant’s financial situation when making their admissions decision. This policy generally increases the number of students in need of financial aid and often requires the university to provide financial aid opportunities to students admitted. The following schools are:

Until recently, only 5 of the top US universities extended their need-blind policy to include international students. However, as of January 2022, Dartmouth College has extended their need-blind policy to all undergraduate applicants regardless of their citizenship!

Can I afford to study in the US?

How To Apply For Financial Aid - Top Tips & Advice From Crimson’s Financial Aid Experts

Crimson offers scholarship support to its students. Our dedicated team of financial aid advisors and experts understand the process of financial assistance, can help you with your applications, and answer any questions you may have about financial aid. Our lead advisors sat down with us to answer some of the most common financial aid questions. If you have further questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.

If a student needs financial aid, what should they do first?

Start with researching the financial aid process. Become familiar with the financial aid policies at the schools on your list, the types of aid they have available, the forms you will need to complete, and any deadlines you need to meet.

How much financial aid can one student receive (per semester/total)?

The amount of financial aid a student can receive depends on multiple factors specific to each student. These factors include, but are not limited to, the school's cost of attendance (tuition, room and board, books, supplies, etc.), the student's financial situation, citizenship, background, and involvements, as well as the school's aid policies and available sources of aid.

What other lesser-known organizations offer financial aid to students?

While most families are familiar with Canada’s federal financial student aid options including the Canada Student Financial Aid Assistance Program (CSFAAP), there are also a few organizations that offer sponsorships and bursaries for Canadian students looking to study abroad. ScholarshipsCanada and the International Education Financial Aid (IEFA) website are two great options for Canadian students looking for financial aid options.

International students can also seek out scholarships from private foundations and other organizations dedicated to supporting study in the US.

How does a university’s "need-blind or need-aware" status affect financial aid opportunities?

"Need-blind" or "need-aware" admission policies do not directly impact a student's financial aid opportunities as the school's ability to meet your full demonstrated need can differ under each of these policies. When applying to "need-blind" or "need-aware" schools, be aware of the school's stated ability to meet your "full demonstrated need," which we will discuss in more detail later.

Can a university match a financial aid offer from another university?

The answer depends on the individual university's policies and practices. Many schools follow a best-foot-forward policy that presents the student with the best financial aid offer possible, based on the information you provided them and their available resources. Before approaching a school, it is best to see if the school has a stated policy on award matching.

What's the best piece of advice you'd give to a student hoping to secure financial aid?

Do your research and explore all of your options. There are many types of financial aid available from many sources. By being aware of the timelines, requirements, and eligibility requirements, students can put themselves in the best position possible to receive the best offer that reflects their academic and financial circumstances.

How Crimson Helps Students with their Financial Aid

Crimson Education can help you apply for financial aid. Read the blog to learn mroe

How do we assist students in their financial aid applications?

We start with a thorough walk-through of the financial aid applications the student wishes to apply to. This initial walk-through helps students and their families prepare for applying and enables us to speak to any unique family circumstances that they will need to address in the application process. We thoroughly review the applications before submission to ensure they filled out the applications correctly.

What is the role of a Crimson Financial Aid Consultant?

To guide and support Crimson students and their families through the merit scholarship and financial aid application processes, including your CSS profile, and serve as a resource to them as questions or challenges arise.

What types of financial aid services does Crimson offer?

We offer three distinct services to Crimson families:

  • Financial Aid Review includes three hours of one-on-one time with a Financial Aid consultant. We discuss financial aid strategy, merit scholarships, and review financial aid applications. We also include an additional two hours for email and messaging support.
  • Financial Aid Support includes seven hours of one-on-one time with a Financial Aid Consultant to discuss aid strategy, merit scholarships, and assistance with the financial aid application process. We provide an additional two hours for email and messaging support.
  • Merit Scholarship Support includes by-the-hour support to research and identify merit scholarship opportunities, support in determining which scholarships to pursue, and financial aid-specific advice through the application process. Please note that this service does not include writing assistance for the merit scholarship applications, which will require support from a Strategist and Application Mentor.

Final Thoughts

Don't let finances limit your college dreams. Take advantage of financial help from the Canadian federal government, universities, private organizations, scholarships, and other independent entities. By utilizing all financial aid options, you'll have more opportunities to study at a US university that's perfect for you.

Learn how Crimson can help you secure financial support.

Need Help With Your Financial Aid Applications?

Our dedicated team of financial aid advisors and experts understand the process of financial assistance, can help you with your applications, and answer any questions you may have about financial aid