Financial aid helps students and their families pay for college expenses which includes tuition, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), must be completed every year by current and prospective college students. By submitting your FAFSA, you can become eligible to receive grants, loans or work study to help fund your college education. Take a look at our 8 Steps To Applying For Financial Aid in order to successfully navigate through the financial aid process.
1. Become Familiar with Financial Aid Options
Understanding key financial aid terminology makes navigating through the application process seamless. It is crucial to understand your various financial aid in advance.
2. Research the Financial Aid Process
Before beginning the FAFSA, you should have a good understanding of what the application entails and how to be prepared once you are ready to apply.
3. Get Your Parent/Guardian Involved
Your parents or guardian financial information will be requested as part of the application. Notify them in advance to ensure you will have access to the parent/guardian information you will need to submit.
4. Gather All Financial Documents
While applying for financial aid, various information will be requested including: social security number, most recent tax returns, record of assets, and a list of colleges you would like to attend. Be sure to gather these documents ahead of time to be prepared to accurately complete your FAFSA.
5. Calculate the Cost of Attendance for 4 Years
Understanding the cost of attendance for all 4 years will help you make an informed decision when reviewing your financial aid award letters. Be sure to consider, tuition rates, on average, increase 8% each year.
6. Complete the FAFSA
Colleges use your FAFSA data to determine your federal aid eligibility. Many states and colleges also use FAFSA data to award their own aid, as well as grants and scholarships.
7. Apply to Scholarships
A scholarship is free aid awarded by companies, colleges, organizations, and other institutions to assist student in covering their college expenses. Scholarships are awarded based on skills, academic achievement, intended majors, socioeconomic status, talent and career interest.
8. Carefully Review and Compare Your Financial Aid Award Letters
For each college you are accepted into, you will receive a financial aid award letter. Carefully review each letter to determine which college is offering the best financial aid package. Be sure to consider what your cost of attendance will be for the entire 4 years.