The expense of college is a major concern for many students and their families; however, money should not be barrier for anyone who is motivated to further his/her education. Financial aid comes in many forms – grants, work study programs, loans, and scholarships. The main way to access much of this aid is through FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Submitting the FAFSA to colleges will make you eligible for most of their financial aid programs. Others ways to get financial aid are: independent scholarships offered by individual colleges, national scholarships, local scholarships, and loans from private institutions or the government.
FAFSA form can be submitted after October 1st, 2020. Here are some basic tips:
- You can fill out the FAFSA form on line. The sooner you do it, the better chance you have of getting the financial aid you need. The link to the FAFSA website is http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/.
- Each college has a specific deadline by which they need the completed FAFSA. Please check each college's website and note their deadlines. In many cases, sending in the FAFSA well before the deadline is advantageous.
- The FAFSA form will be asking about your income for the most recent completed year. It is to your benefit (but not necessary) to prepare your taxes early, so your form will be as accurate as possible.
- After you submit your FAFSA information, the Department of Education will look at your financial information and determine the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), the amount that you should be expected to pay. Colleges will look at the EFC and try to provide a combination of grants, loans, and scholarships to meet your need.
- Though FAFSA is the most common way students receive financial aid, there are also scholarships available through specific schools and organizations. Please search college websites and scholarship sites like www.fastweb.com for more opportunities. Please note that you should not have to pay for scholarship information. Plenty of excellent information is available at no cost.
Loans for students and/or parents can be acquired through the government or independent institutions, like banks. Again, the FAFSA form is often the first step to qualifying for loans. More loan information is offered at the following websites:
The College Board’s CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE® is an online application that collects information used by almost 300 colleges and scholarship programs to award financial aid from sources outside of the federal government. After you submit your application, the College Board sends it to the colleges and scholarship programs you have chosen.
Also, once you are admitted into a school, the school’s financial aid office can offer valuable information on loans and other financial aid opportunities.
Financial Aid Presentation
In case you missed it, you can view the Financial Aid Presentation from College Planning Night here!