Available beginning January 1st of your senior year. Used to apply for federal aid such as grants and loans.
Can be used at anytime to get an idea about what your expected family contribution (EFC) will be (what you will be expected to pay for college)
Scholarships are money that is given to help a student pay for college expenses that do not have to be paid back. Scholarships are normally given to a student who has specific qualifications such as athletic, artistic, or academic talent, for community service, or for students who have particular majors, are underrepresented in colleges or other qualifications. Scholarships can be found on Naviance, College Board's website, FastWeb, and many other websites. You should use more than one search as some scholarships will show on one site, but not another. You should never pay for a scholarship or for someone to find you scholarships.
Grants are money given to help students pay for college. Grants do not have to be paid back. Grants are often need based. Grants are typically awarded based on the student's FAFSA results.
Student loans are also money given to students to pay for college expenses; however, loans must be paid back - usually with interest.