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Armed Forces. Students who have children, if they provide more than half of the support for the child. Students who have dependents other than a child or spouse living with them, if they provide more than half of the support for the dependent. Students who are married. Students who are serving on active duty in the armed forces for purposes other than training.
Students who are or were emancipated minors as determined by a court. Students who are or were in a legal guardianship as determined by a court. Students who are or were considered an unaccompanied youth that was homeless on or after July 1, That criteria alone does not qualify a student to be independent. The FAFSA determines the Expected Family Contribution EFC based on many criteria including, but not limited to: student income, parents' income, number in college, number in household, net worth of investments, net worth of business, savings, taxes paid, and untaxed income and benefits.
What is verification? If your application is selected, you will be notified by the Student Financial Services Office of the documents you need to provide. Department of Education has made temporary changes to the aid verification process for the award year to help families affected by COVID Verification for this period will focus strictly on identity and fraud. My Financial Aid Award. When will I be notified of my award letter? What if I want to decline some of the aid?
Is it possible to have my award reconsidered? If your family's financial circumstances have changed since you applied, you may request reconsideration of your aid award. If this is the case, please contact your Student Financial Services counselor. Your counselor will explain what needs to be completed. Please note that we can only increase your award if the increase is justified by recognized financial aid methodology, so be sure to include specific information and data showing how your financial situation has changed.
I was awarded Federal Work-Study. What do I do now? In the first few weeks of the fall semester, students awarded Federal Work-Study will be able to view a list of available jobs here. Students have the choice to apply to any of these jobs. Once hired, the student may earn up to the total amount awarded for the academic year. What's the difference between Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans? Subsidized loans accrue no interest while the student is enrolled more than half time.
Unsubsidized loans will accrue interest while the student is attending school. The process and timeline will be a bit different for everyone, but here I'll focus on the process for 1 first-time college freshmen who are 2 proactive about applying for financial aid.
It's generally better to apply earlier rather than later for financial aid programs so, don't wait until application deadlines if you can help it because some programs run out of funds. One notable example of a program with limited funds is the Perkins loan program. You generally don't have to worry about the financial aid application process until the bulk of your college application work is done. Even if you don't think you'll apply to one of these colleges or programs, it may be wise to fill it out, so you don't preemptively limit your funding options.
Check out the list of participating programs before deciding not to complete it—you might find a program or school you're interested in! It's very important that you meet this deadline if you want to be considered eligible for institutional financial aid. Some schools may ask for it around the time college apps are due. Gather the following paperwork for both you and your parents to expedite the application process :. There are fee waivers available for low-income students. Like I mentioned earlier, this one application will open up a lot of potential aid opportunities.
A few days after you submit your application, you'll get what's called a SAR student aid report outlining different types of federal aid that you're eligible for. If you're interested in the Perkins loan , you'd have to be offered the loan directly through your school. Even though the deadline is pretty late e.
Some programs are first-come, first-serve, so if you apply early, you won't end up losing out on any potential funding opportunities. To complete the application, you'll need detailed financial information for both yourself and your parents, including:. The application itself should take hours, and can be submitted online.
It should take about three days to get your "results"—the student aid report outlining your federal aid eligibility. After you've been admitted to a college, the school will put together a financial aid award letter—if you noted that you want financial aid, that is. You will not have to accept or reject any offer of admission until you've been able to go over a school's financial aid package. You can use the award amounts to calculate your net cost, or what you have to pay out of pocket to attend that school.
If there are loans offered on your financial aid letter, you don't have to accept any that you're not comfortable with. You tell your financial aid office what awards you want to take pro tip: take all the grants and scholarships and what awards you don't.
This is the real question, right? If you're going to go through all the trouble of applying for financial aid, you want the results to be worth it in the end. Students with very low family incomes who attend schools with good financial aid programs can get all of their financial need covered —with all grants, no loans. Harvard, for example, expects no family contributions from families who make less than 60k a year, although they still expect students to contribute a small amount via a student job.
There are other schools that claim to meet all students' unmet need. If you have high financial need but choose a school with a less generous financial aid program, you might be expected to pay a lot out of pocket. If you don't have much financial need, you can still get financial aid through schools with good programs.
You might not be eligible for many grants, but you could potentially be eligible for low-interest government loans, like the Direct Subsidized , Unsubsidized , and PLUS programs- they have less strict eligibility criteria. Sometimes, even though students do everything right, they still end up stuck with a price that they or their families just can't afford. Here are some steps you can take to close the gap between what you can afford and what you owe.
See if they can work with you on your financial aid package. Don't treat it like a bidding war—for example, going to a school with another college's financial aid package and demanding they match it won't generally fly. Tell them that you're grateful for the package, but as is, your family can't afford it. Take this opportunity to explain any extenuating circumstances or hardships that make paying for college difficult. Bring concrete numbers and calculations to back up your claims, and be prepared to discuss what you can afford.
Ideally, you'd start looking at scholarship programs early on in your junior year. Apply to scholarships as a Hail Mary or backup plan—don't count on any scholarship earnings before you've actually earned them. With that being said, scholarships even small ones can help make college more affordable. Sometimes, the heavy burden of student loans isn't worth attending one particular school, even if it's your dream school.
If you want to increase your chances of getting more financial aid, you can start with steps that will also help with your college applications. Getting your SAT scores up or investing time in community service hours will make you a more attractive college applicant, but it will also make you eligible for more scholarships.
In order to prepare for scholarship applications, read our guides to the National Merit Scholarship , Walmart Scholarship , and Coca-Cola Scholarships. We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:. Francesca graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and scored in the 99th percentile on the SATs. She's worked with many students on SAT prep and college counseling, and loves helping students capitalize on their strengths.
Our new student and parent forum, at ExpertHub. See how other students and parents are navigating high school, college, and the college admissions process. Ask questions; get answers. How to Get a Perfect , by a Perfect Scorer. Score on SAT Math. Score on SAT Reading. Score on SAT Writing. What ACT target score should you be aiming for?
How to Get a Perfect 4. How to Write an Amazing College Essay. A Comprehensive Guide. Choose Your Test. Paying for College: The Basics So you're about ready to head to college—or at least, you're thinking about whether you can afford it. College Costs Every year that you attend school—whether you're getting a BA, a Master's, or a professional degree—costs a certain amount of money.
So let's get started! What Is Financial Aid? Grants Grants are lovely little monetary awards that you don't have to pay back. Loans A loan is a sum of money that is given to you when you need it i. Scholarships Scholarships, like grants, are sums of money that are awarded to you to help pay for school. Financial Aid Sources Financial aid can come from a variety of sources.
Federal Federal student aid is financial aid that is sponsored or subsidized by the US federal government. Institutional Colleges will sometimes have their own financial aid programs. Private When people discuss private aid sources, they're usually referring to banks that are funding private loans.
The Financial Aid Application Process The process is so much more manageable if we break it down step by step. Gather the following paperwork for both you and your parents to expedite the application process : Current and previous years' tax returns W-2 forms and other records of current year income Records of untaxed income and benefits for current and previous tax years Current bank statements Records of savings, stocks, bonds, trusts, etc. Submitting the FAFSA To complete the application, you'll need detailed financial information for both yourself and your parents, including: W-2 forms Tax returns Records of untaxed income and benefits The application itself should take hours, and can be submitted online.
Step 3: The Financial Aid Award Letter After you've been admitted to a college, the school will put together a financial aid award letter—if you noted that you want financial aid, that is. This figure includes tuition, fees, books, transportation, room, and board.
If it's not listed on the financial aid letter, turn to Google or the financial aid office. Learn more about expenses in our guide on what college really costs. Subtract any grants and scholarships listed on the financial aid package from your CoA. The figure you have right now is your out-of-pocket cost. If this isn't affordable, this isn't necessarily what you have to pay right now to attend this school. Subtract any federal loans offered from the out-of-pocket cost.
These loans tend to have low-interest rates and good repayment terms. Subtract any work-study award amounts. Many students have jobs during the school year to help cover some college expenses. Work study helps facilitate the job search. The remaining amount is what you have to pay to attend school for one year. If this amount is still not manageable, and you're comfortable with the idea of taking out more loans, you can consider private loans to cover some of the balance.
Let's figure out how much aid you can get your hands on. The amount of aid you can get depends on two main factors : 1 : Your financial need, and 2 : Where you go to school Students with very low family incomes who attend schools with good financial aid programs can get all of their financial need covered —with all grants, no loans.
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The Financial Aid office at FGC will introduce you to the spectrum of financial resources available to students – from scholarships to loans to work-study. The Federal Student Aid website contains extensive tutorials, forms, and information about filing for federal financial aid. The forms, videos, and links below. Contact Information for Assistance in Obtaining Institutional or Financial Aid Information: Financial Aid Office; For more information, call