Student Life

College Financial Aid

Applying for Financial Aid can be a daunting prospect for many students and their families.  Gray Stone students are lucky to have a wonderful resource at their disposal:  Pfeiffer University’s Department of Admissions and Financial Aid.  Steve Cumming and Melissa Coe have generously offered to help Gray Stone families navigate the financial aid process, even if the student has no interest in attending Pfeiffer.  They will meet with families to discuss their financial situations and estimate the kind of financial aid students can expect to receive.  They will calculate a family’s Expected Family Contribution, which represents the figure that a family is deemed able to afford for college.  Mr. Cumming and Ms. Coe can be contacted at (704) 463-3057 or (704) 463-3048.

Financial Aid Overview

Financial Aid for college education comes in different forms and from different sources, including federal, state and private aid. Awards are principally based upon need as determined by filing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and CSS (College Scholarship Service)/Financial Aid PROFILE.   Some categories of financial aid include:

  • Grants: "Free" money that the student does not have to pay back.
  • Loans:  Money that has to be repaid, usually with a low interest rate and deferred payment until after the student graduates.
  • Scholarships: Merit awards that do not have to be repaid.  Please see Gray Stone’s Scholarships page for more details.
  • Work Study: Federally-funded campus employment through the college financial aid office, based on financial need and at minimum wage.

Need based financial aid (grants, loans, and work study) are awarded to bridge the gap between a college’s total Cost of Attendance and a family’s Estimated Family Contribution.  Scholarships are typically awarded independent of financial need.    

Important Financial Aid Forms

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) MUST be completed in order for a student to qualify for federal financial aid.  Many colleges use the FAFSA to determine private aid as well.  This form must be completed between January 1st and June 30th of the applicable school year. In order to maximize a student’s eligibility for available funds, however, the FAFSA should be completed as soon as possible as January 1st, even if a family must estimate its taxes.

To apply electronically or to find out more about Federal Student Aid, visit the U.S. Department of Education's Web Site at: or

Telephone: 1.800.433.3243 (Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. EST)

The CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE is a form created by the College Board and required by some colleges and organizations in determining the awarding of private student aid funds.  The PROFILE requires more details about families’ financial resources than the FAFSA does and takes longer to complete.  In addition to the registration fee, an additional fee is required for each school designated to receive a copy of the PROFILE.  

Colleges have different priority deadlines for financial aid forms, including the PROFILE.  Students are responsible for making sure that they file the PROFILE and other applicable forms in a timely fashion.

Visit  for more information.

Telephone: 1.800.778.6888.

Other Helpful Financial Aid Links

  • (Very comprehensive financial aid site).
  •  (Site that allows you to compare various student loan options, including public and private loans).  
  • (Federal Student Aid Information for students).
  •  (Help in completing the FAFSA).
  •  (FAFSA on the Web and Federal School Codes).
  •  (An early estimate of a student’s eligibility for federal financial aid).
  •  (Financial Literacy guide by CFNC).
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   (Email address of Monty Hickman, Associate Director for Financial Aid for the North Carolina’s Community Colleges).  

Web Sites with Expected Family Contribution Worksheets