Our Expert Perspective on Tuition Assistance


Financial Aid counselor with student at Granite State College.

Going to college is an investment that pays off, and finding financial aid to reduce out-of-pocket costs is a typical part of that process. Our Financial Aid team works hard to support you through the financial aid process, helping make college more affordable. We chatted with our Financial Aid team to gain insight into how the process works and to get a few helpful tips. 

Is the financial aid process difficult?

Actually, it can be easy if you take your time and gather the right info. The first step is to get an FSA ID. Without one, you can’t apply for federal student aid. It might take a few days before you’re allowed to use your login to apply for assistance, so be patient. Oh, and once you have that username and password, don’t forget it! If you do, in the worst-case situation, you might lose access to your account for up to 10 days until a new username and password can be sent to you. The good news is that your FSA ID works throughout your college career, so you only have to create it once.

I have my FSA ID. What’s next?

Now it’s time to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) for the correct financial aid year. When you fill out the form, there is an excellent timesaver you’ll want to use. It’s called the I.R.S. Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT). It takes all of the related income and tax data from the U.S. tax forms it requests and transfers it into your FAFSA®. Once you have completed the FAFSA® and Financial Aid receives notification, we will try to award you enough grants, scholarships, or low-interest student loans to cover your tuition, fees, and books for two classes each term. If you have any outstanding requirements, we will be in touch via email or a letter in the mail.

How long does it take to fill out the FAFSA® and are there any tips to ensure that I do it right?

Most people can finish it in well under an hour. The U.S. Department of Education’s blog has a great list of common FAFSA® mistakes. It’s definitely worth a read and might help you avoid some stress down the line. If you have any questions, call our office at (888) 228-3000 x392 or email us at financial.aid@granite.edu. 

Is there anything special/different about how we handle tuition assistance?

We try to help students minimize their debt by initially awarding just enough financial aid to cover tuition, fees, and books. It’s never a good idea to have too much student loan debt after college.  

Do we offer any scholarships or grants? 

Yes, we offer several scholarship and grant opportunities at Granite State College. In addition, students can visit our website to learn about several trusted scholarship opportunities available outside of the college. The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation is the largest provider of publicly available scholarships in the state. They awarded more than $7 million to more than 1,700 students in 2021. Visit nhcf.org/scholarships to learn more and apply.

What makes for a good financial aid experience?

You should know that we’re always looking out for you. It’s our goal to find you the highest level of tuition assistance  for your situation. So, when we ask for additional forms and documents, it’s because we want to help, and not to make the process more complicated. 

What can students do to help streamline the process?

Once you have filled out all of your forms, you’ll want to log in to WebROCK to see if we have any follow-up questions. WebROCK is a one-stop shop for financial aid, enrollment, grades, bill paying, and more. Also, we think it’s important for you to know that you can always reach out to us with questions—that’s what we’re here for! 

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This blog was originally published in February 2018 and was updated to reflect emerging trends and best practices.