Applying for Financial Aid
"I nor my parents have $20,000 to send me to college. Therefore I need to apply for financial aid." Well, many students find themselves in this situation and it is the "early bird that catches the worm." It is our responsibility to make sure that you are an early bird. So, lets begin the process of applying for financial aid.
1. FREE APPLICATION FOR FEDERAL AID (FAFSA) - This is the only form you ned to fill out to begin the process. You may complete it over the web (which we have provided a link for) or you may complete the paper version. It is our recommendation that you do it via the web. The turn around time is much faster. You can file the application starting January 1, 2003. Please click on the link entitled Free Application for Federal Student Aid for a direct link to the website.
2. Student Aid Report (SAR) - Upon completion and processing of your FAFSA, you will receive your SAR. Your SAR is a summary of your FAFSA and is the basis of your packaging for financial aid. A copy is sent to you and to the school which you requested for it to be sent. When your FAFSA is processed , a formula is applied to the information you provided. This formula takes into account your family's income, some assets, and certain expenses that are required (taxes), necessary (basic living expenses), and related to earning income (employment-related expenses) The formula result is the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). This is how much money you and your family are expected to contribute toward your cost of attendance for the 2002-2003 school year. If your EFC is below a certain amount, you will be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant (discussed later).
3.Financial Aid Packaging - Upon receipt of your SAR, your financial aid counselor will package you for the school year. Your packaing will consist of:
Cost of Attendance - the sum of your actual tuition and fees or the school's average tuition and fees, cost of room and board, cost of books and supplies, an allowance for transportation, and an allowance for miscellaneous expenses.
EFC - Expected Family Contribution (discussed above)
Federal Pell Grant Eligibility - If you EFC is 3550 or below, you are eligible for a pell grant. A Pell grant is money that you do not have to pay back.
Direct Stafford Loan - This is a loan that is given to anyone who completely fills out his FAFSA. This amount is stablized at $2625.00 It is divided over 2 semesters. THIS IS A STUDENT LOAN and it must be repayed after you complete your postsecondary education.
PLUS Loan - This is a loan which is taken out by your parent to defray the cost of your education. The amount of this loan is the Cost of Attendance minus all other financial aid you receive. THIS IS A LOAN TAKEN OUT BY YOUR PARENTS. YOUR PARENTS MUST REPAY THIS LOAN WHILE YOU ARE IN SCHOOL.
Campus-Based Aid Programs - The FSEOG, FWS, and Federal Perkins Loan programs are called campus-based programs because they're administered directly by the financial aid office at each participating school. Not all schools participate in all three programs. How much aid you receive from each of these programs depends on your financial need, on the amount of other aid you receive, and on the availability of funds at your college or career school. Unlike the Federal Pell Grant Program, which provides funds to every eligible student, the campus-based programs provide a certain amount of funds for each participating school to administer each year. When the money for a program is gone, no more awards can be made from that program for that year.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) - FSEOGs are gift-aid for undergraduates with exceptional financial need. Pell Grant recipients with the lowest EFCs will be the first to get FSEOGs, which don't have to be paid back. You can get between $100 and $4,000 a year, depending on when you apply, your financial need, and the funding at the school you're attending.
Federal Work-Study (FWS) - The FWS Program provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. You'll be paid by the hour. No FWS student may be paid by commission or fee. Your school must pay you directly at least once a month. Wages for the FWS Program must equal at least the current federal minimum wage but may be higher, depending on the type of work you do and the skills required. Your total FWS award depends on when you apply, your financial need, and the funding level at your school. The amount you earn can't exceed your total FWS award. When assigning work hours, your employer or financial aid administrator will consider your award amount, your class schedule, and your academic progress.
Federal Perkins Loans - A Federal Perkins Loan is a low-interest (5%) loan for undergraduate students with exceptional financial need. Federal Perkins Loans are made through a school's financial aid office. Your school is your lender, and the loan is made with government funds. THIS IS A STUDENT LOAN and it must be repayed. Depending on when you apply, your financial need, and the funding level at the school, you can borrow up to $4,000 for each year of undergraduate study.