by Abby Schottenfels, Mayor’s Office of Education

It’s never too late to go back to school, and college and trade programs are a great way to achieve your goals. Financial aid and scholarships are a great way to save money while you invest in your future. Here’s how you can find financial support while you apply to school: 


Apply for federal and state financial aid

An important first is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). FAFSA opened on October 1, 2022. If you’re planning to attend college next year or even as soon as next semester,  the sooner you fill out your FAFSA the better off you will be. 

You will need: 

  • A Social Security Number or Alien Registration Number*
  • A unique ID name and password
  • Federal income tax returns, W-2s, and other records of money earned
  • Note: If you (the applicant) are under the age of 18 or a dependent you will need this information for your parents or guardians as well

*If you are an undocumented student, you may still qualify for some aid.

Once you have filled out the FAFSA, it is also beneficial to fill out the PHEAA form which can provide additional funding from the state of Pennsylvania.

Once both the FAFSA and the PHEAA are filled out, the federal and state government will generate a student aid report and expected family contribution. At the end of the FAFSA, there will be a place where you can fill in the schools you will potentially apply to and have the report sent to them. 

Once you decide where you are going to enroll, the schools will offer you an “award letter” with the various types of aid you can receive.


Upcoming events 

Applying for financial aid and scholarships can be overwhelming, but support is available! Here are some upcoming events where you can ask questions and get assistance: 

FAFSA Kick Off at School District of Philadelphia
Tuesday, October 11, 2022 | 3:30pm to 7pm 
440 N. Broad St
The City is partnering with the School District of Philadelphia on Oct 11 for a FAFSA Launch Kickoff.  You can join in person at the SDP and a college access professional will help you fill out your FAFSA. Be sure to bring the needed documents. 

CCP Ask Admissions 
Tuesday, October 18, 2022 | 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM 
Join the Community College of Philadelphia at a virtual event where you can ask admissions counselors about programs and funding

Drexel Virtual Financial Aid and Information Session
Monday, October 24, 2022 | 6:30 PM until 8:00 PM
Join Drexel Financial Aid Representatives as they review Financial Aid planning and how to access federal and institutional funds. 


Free Community College through the Catto Scholarship

The Octavius Catto Scholarship is a great option for students of any age  to attend the Community College of Philadelphia full-time for free (including books) and receive additional financial aid for living expenses.  This scholarship is funded by the City of Philadelphia. 

Catto Scholars are assigned a student success coach dedicated to helping students stay on track and figure out an ideal career path. This is a great option to consider, whether your goal is to get an associate’s degree, transfer to a four-year program, or go directly into the workplace. 


Additional resources

If you’re looking for scholarships, check out the lists compiled by The School District of Philadelphia’s College and Career Readiness Office and the Philadelphia Foundation.