Paying for College

Two teens smiling while studying

Know that college is an option for you.

Depending on the career path you choose, earning a degree can be the launchpad to your success! We encourage you to explore many career pathways and career experience opportunities. Thinking about your future can feel overwhelming. But you’re not alone — you’re surrounded by adults who have been there. Talk with your school counselors, professionals and family about college and career goals.

What is financial aid?

With support from financial aid, many students who can’t afford to pay for college on their own are able to enroll in college and earn a degree! Financial aid refers to money that helps you pay for college — and it comes in many forms. Some financial aid is a gift — like scholarships and grants. Other forms of financial aid, such as loans, have to be paid back. Financial aid is often awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Start searching for financial aid early!

Why does it matter?


$62,609 a year is the average salary for a college graduate compared to high school dropouts who earn $11,667. Colorado’s workforce is changing, which makes getting a college degree more important than ever.


74% of all Colorado jobs by 2020 will require education beyond high school -- such as college, trade school, an apprenticeship or military service


Last year, DPS students like you earned more than $85 million in scholarships!

Did you know?

According to the College Board, most full-time college students receive some kind of financial aid. Talk to your counselor about your documentation status. He or she can help you navigate options to pay for college!

Group of people sitting on a round table using laptops

DPS seniors apply for college and scholarships with support from counselors, teachers and family.


You can earn free college while in high school! Ask your teachers and counselor about Concurrent Enrollment.

Step One: Fill out a FAFSA

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – Filling out a FAFSA is your first step to funding your education! Most financial aid requires a FAFSA.

FAFSA applications open on Oct. 1 for the following school year.

Financial aid is often given on a first-come, first-served basis, so it is important for students to submit their FAFSA as close to Oct.1 as possible.

In order to complete the FAFSA, students will need:

  • Federal tax returns

  • Social security numbers for student (and parents if they have them)

  • Date of birth 

  • Your driver’s license or government ID

Once you begin the FAFSA process, you’ll be given a Federal Student Aid (FSA) identification.

For more information, chat with your school counselor, your college’s financial aid office or visit FAFSA’s site.

FAFSA website on a computer monitor

Step Two: Learn about the different types of financial aid


are based on a student's financial need and do not have to be repaid.


are awarded based on merit (academic, athletic or talent) and do not have to be repaid.


programs give you the opportunity to work for your college as a student and get paid. Income is tax-exempt.


have a fixed interest rate and must be paid back to lending institution.