Financial Aid & Scholarships
Make paying for college practical
Whether you are a full-time or part-time student, you may qualify for financial aid to help bring down your college costs or cover them entirely. Financial aid can come from a variety of sources. You may qualify for one or more federal, state, institutional, or private programs. In addition, financial aid comes in different forms such as grants, work-study, loans, and scholarships.
First step: Create an FSA ID
An FSA ID is a username and password that you must create to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (fafsa.ed.gov). You will also use your FSA ID to log in U.S. Department of Education websites, StudentLoans.gov, and the National Student Loan Data System (nslds.ed.gov).
Step 2: Complete the FAFSA
FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Completing it is key toward getting federal aid for college. It provides U.S. students with more than $150 billion in grants, work-study funds, and loans each year. But, to find out if you are eligible to receive any of this money, you must complete the FAFSA.
When you are ready to get started, visit the FAFSA website and complete the application using our Federal School Code 009765. We recommend you complete your FAFSA between November 1 and May 1. You may find our FAFSA tutorial videos helpful. Or attend one of our Financial Aid Workshops where we can assist you in completing your application. Prior to attending, please follow the very important instructions, and then register for a Financial Aid Workshop.
What comes after FAFSA?
Your FAFSA is sent electronically to us. Our Financial Aid Office will then review it and determine your eligibility for potential sources of funding. (See below for various types of funding.)
Depending on your financial status and other eligibility factors, you may qualify for additional sources of aid. The Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid website has lots of detailed information.
Types of funding
Federal Pell Grants
Pell Grants are need-based, do not have to be paid back, and are awarded only to students who have not earned a bachelor’s or professional degree. If you are eligible for a Pell Grant, our Financial Aid Office will apply it to your Three Rivers student account.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
Supplemental Grants are available to Three Rivers Community College students. Amounts and availability vary from year to year and are awarded only to Federal Pell Grant recipients who have acute financial hardship.
Roberta B. Willis Scholarship Program (RWSP)
The Roberta B. Willis Scholarship Program is a grant that provides state aid to help talented and needy students pay for college. It is not a merit program: priority is given only to those who are least able to contribute to college costs. Based upon continued funding, students may use their award at any of Connecticut’s public colleges and universities or any Connecticut nonprofit independent institution of higher education.
Eligibility for this grant is limited to six years of undergraduate study for a bachelor’s degree and three years of study for an associate degree. Based upon future funding levels, students who submit a 2017-2018 application will be considered for an award in future years if a completed FAFSA is submitted by April 30. Renewal students will be notified via email about the status of their application by August 1. Our Financial Aid office will award these based on funding availability and individual eligibility, which includes satisfactory academic progress.
Applicants may contact our Financial Aid office at (860) 215-9040 to check if they are eligible. Our Financial Aid Department has a list of any work-study job openings. In-state students may also be eligible for state-funded Community College Work-Study funding. Work-study funding is also need-based.
Federal Direct Stafford Loan
These fixed-rate student loans do not require you to make any payments until six months after you leave college or if you reduce your course load below six credit hours. To see if you qualify for a Direct Loan, please contact the Financial Aid Office at (860) 215-9040 for information on our institutional process, your eligibility, amounts, and interests rates.
Parents’ Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
This program allows parents of dependent students to borrow in their own name through the Federal Direct Loan Program to help meet the student’s educational expenses. However, PLUS loans are not usually needed to pay for community college.
Private Educational Loans
If you have exhausted all federal and state aid options, you can consider a private educational loan which generally has much higher interest rates. The FinAid website has a useful comparison chart. Information on the Federal Aid First website can help you understand the differences between federal and private student loans.
We encourage all students to pursue scholarship opportunities. Three Rivers offers a number of scholarships through the Three Rivers College Foundation. They take into consideration your area of study, proven academic performance, and other circumstances. A Three Rivers advisor or the Three Rivers College Foundation can help you with this process.
In addition, many civic groups, large employers, cultural and religious institutions, and other organizations make scholarships available. High school students should check with their guidance office for these opportunities.
First Generation College Students
Are you a first student in your family to attend college?
According to the U.S. Department of Education NCES, nearly one-third of all incoming freshman each year are first-generation college students defined as learners coming from a family where neither of their parents or guardians has obtained a college degree. Students in this category often face obstacles their peers do not experience, but with the right inside knowledge, they can be successful in their college career.
We have found an excellent web page that is a great start — the First Generation College Student Guide. It provides information on financial aid, checklists, timelines, and more, helping you understand the challenges and unknowns while also offering concrete guidance, support, and resources.