Steps for Applying for Financial Aid
1. APPLY FOR ADMISSION AS WELL AS FINANCIAL AID
Before a student’s chance for aid can be determined, many colleges require both an application for admission and for financial aid. Since application deadlines vary from institution to institution, you may want to develop a calendar of important dates. In any case, it’s wise to apply as early as you can.
2. SUBMIT REQUIRED FINANCIAL AID FORMS
File all forms for financial aid consideration at the college(s) you are contemplating. This includes the correct year’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Note: Students should file only one FAFSA regardless of how many colleges they are considering. The FAFSA includes a section to list the colleges to which they want their information sent.
Contact your guidance counselor to obtain a FAFSA form or electronic filing information. If you have questions about completing the application, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (800-433-3243). During your senior year, complete the FAFSA as soon after January 1 as possible.
The FAFSA collects demographic and financial information from students and parents to be used to determine an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) – the figure used to determine a student’s eligibility for Federal Pell Grants, other federal financial aid programs, and many state programs. The EFC is determined according to formulas set periodically by the U.S. Congress. After you complete the FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). Call 1-800-433-3243 if you do not receive your SAR in 4-6 weeks.
Students should also check with each college to determine if there are additional forms that the college requires them to file. Be sure to file all forms in time to meet the colleges’ financial aid application deadlines. Note: Admissions and financial aid deadlines are often different; be sure to meet each requirement.
3. APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIPS AND GRANTS
Besides aid offered directly by a college, be sure to inquire about state scholarship, grant, and loan programs. Ask about institutional, community, foundation, and corporation programs as well.
4. KEEP TRACK OF YOUR PROGRESS
Monitor all the information you receive from individual college’s business offices regarding fees, payment schedules, etc. Include this information in your college planning.