Frequently Asked Questions
How can I plan for College now?
U.S. Dept. of Education (www.studentaid.ed.gov) links:
What is the S.A.T. test? Click here for information about the S.A.T.
What is financial aid?
Financial aid is money that helps you pay for college. It is added to the amount that you and your family can personally afford to pay for you to attend college. Merit-based financial aid is aid given to students who have special talents, skills, or who have earned good grades. Need-based financial aid is given to students who show they have financial need. Explore all the financial aid resources available at the federal, state, and local levels.
What kinds of financial aid are available?
Most students receive a combination of these 3 types of aid:
1) Grants and Scholarships are gift aid that you do not have to pay back. Some scholarships may require students to complete a specific employment obligation after graduation from college.
2) Loans must be repaid, usually with interest, after you graduate or stop going to school.
3) Work Study, or student employment, allows you to work and earn money to help pay for school. These jobs are usually on-campus.
Who gives financial aid?
The federal government provides most student financial aid. State Higher Education Commissions, colleges and universities also give financial aid and scholarships to students. A number of civic organizations, associations, clubs, foundations, churches, and businesses may also sponsor scholarships.
How do I apply for financial aid?
To receive aid from any source, you must complete the required application form(s). Always complete applications clearly, accurately, and on time. You will not be eligible for financial aid if you miss the deadline.
Should I file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)?
Yes! The FAFSA is the federal form used to apply for need-based financial aid. The information from your (or your parents') tax return is needed on the FAFSA, which will then determine your estimated family contribution (EFC) to the cost of college. You would complete the FAFSA that comes out the November of your senior year of high school, filing it as soon after January 1 of your senior year as possible, using the tax information for the year that ends in December of your senior year, if you are starting college the fall after your high school graduation. File your FAFSA as soon as possible after the 1st of the year before you start college, because it may also be a requirement for state and local aid.
Where can I get a FAFSA?
The FAFSA should be available in November but you cannot file it until January 1. You can get this form from DEF, your high school guidance office, a college financial aid office, a public library, from your state office of student financial assistance, or the U.S. Department of Education (1-800-4-FED-AID). You can also file the FAFSA online, which is the preferred method. Many local high schools and colleges hold free FAFSA workshops each year to help you with filing the FAFSA online.
Who should apply for need-based financial aid?
All students should apply for need-based financial aid. Many families mistakenly think they may not qualify for this type of aid based on their income and assets. However, if you choose not to apply for need-based financial aid, you may be closing the door on opportunities that could help you pay for college. There are other sources of financial assistance available regardless of your need, but most require you first to file the FAFSA.