Financial Aid Information

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1 Financial Aid Information WHAT IS FINANCIAL AID? Financial aid is a combination of grants, federal loans and work-study opportunities awarded based on financial need. Scholarships on the other hand are awarded based on academic merit and/or various other criteria and not necessarily financial need. Do I need to apply? Yes, everyone must apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be eligible for any Federal and/or State financial assistance. This one application will allow you to take advantage of numerous other grants that you may be eligible for as well. The FAFSA determines your estimated family contribution (EFC). The EFC amount is the same for any college you apply to once it is determined by completing your FAFSA. All financial aid packages are determined by your EFC. When do I need to apply? During the months of January-February of your senior year (12th grade.) Should I apply early and are there any advantages for doing so? Yes, definitely! Get yourself organized early (before January 1st of the year you are considering applying.) Financial aid is often first come, first serve. The earlier you apply the better chance you have of getting the maximum amount that you are eligible to receive. How do I apply for financial aid? The fastest and best way to apply for financial aid is by applying on line for free atwww.fafsa.ed.gov You should begin by assigning your personal identification number (PIN) at Caution: Beware of sites that cost money. Although they are not illegal, you should not be required to pay to apply for financial aid through the FAFSA. You should also watch out for sites that promise you money, request credit card information, are missing their refund policy or state guaranteed eligibility, there is no listed phone # or street address, anyplace that asks for referrals, costs money or informs you that you are pre selected. When will I find out if I am awarded any aid?

2 If you ve applied early in the months of January or February, you will generally hear back from the colleges or universities you ve applied to by the end of March. How will I find out what my financial aid award is? In the application for FAFSA you have indicated which colleges and universities you want to have your financial aid information sent to. Of those indicated, from those that accept you, you will receive a letter outlining your award. Generally you will receive your acceptance letter first, followed by your financial aid award letter detailing your financial aid award package. Be certain to review this thoroughly and see what each institution offers you as a total package. Most colleges and universities require that you confirm your acceptance by May 1st. What kinds of financial aid are there? There are four types of Financial Aid. 1) Loans 2) Work Study 3) Grants 4) Scholarships 1) LOANS: Student Loans Low Interest Rates Repayment begins 6 months after you graduate (or drop out) Have various repayment plans available to meet your needs Parent Loans Low Interest Rates Parents pay while you are in school Direct Loans are primarily given by the Federal Government Private Loans (through banks) usually have higher interest rates and less flexible repayment options 2) WORK STUDY: Federal Government sponsored program Provides on-campus jobs to help you earn money to pay for school Requires responsibility and self-discipline Can work up to 20 hours per week 3) GRANTS:

3 Free money with no strings attached and no requirements to keep it Is Need-based/Income-based May come from internal (within your college or university) or external sources 4) SCHOLARSHIPS: Internal Scholarships are those given by your college or university External Scholarships are those given by your state, high school, church, local/community clubs or organizations and can go with you to the college of your choice Are earned by achievement, talent or aspiration There are generally conditions for keeping your scholarship money (GPA, service hours, enrolling full-time, etc.) May be a one time scholarship or it may be renewable May be sent to the college or student Always consult with your college or university about how they treat external scholarships SOME DEFINITIONS AND COMMON PHRASES Below you will find a list of common terms and phrases used in the financial aid process. This is not an exhaustive list but has been put together to help students navigate their way through the process of applying for federal and state financial aid. FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid - The federal application that students must complete in order to receive federal and state financial aid. This application must be renewed for each academic year. EFC: Expected Family Contribution - Index that is derived from the FAFSA and is used to determine financial need. SAR: Student Aid Report - A report that students receive after submitting their FAFSA. Applicants that file paper applications will receive a SAR in the mail after the federal processor has reviewed your application. Online applicants will be able to access their SAR online. Federal Processor - Generic term for Department of Education processing center, they receive FAFSA s and calculates the Expected Family Contribution, performs matches with the Social Security

4 Administration, Office of Veteran Affairs and transmit student SAR information to schools. Need Based Aid - Financial assistance awarded based on financial need. (See Pell grant) Non-need based aid - Financial assistance awarded based on eligibility and not necessarily on financial need. (See: Unsubsidized Stafford loan) Priority Date - Date used to give financial aid applicants priority when awarding funds. Students who apply by this date will usually have been notified of their financial aid awards prior to the billing for the semester in which they are enrolling. Federal Verification - process by which the information submitted in the FAFSA is reviewed for correctness. Approximately 30% of all aid applicants are selected for verification each year. SAP: Satisfactory Academic Progress - Policy which states that in order for students to retain their financial aid eligibility satisfactory academic progress towards a degree must be made. Return of Title IV Funds - Refers to a calculation that is made for students who completely withdraw from classes during a semester in which they received federal aid. Alternative Student Loans - A private educational loan used to supplement the Stafford and/or Parent Plus loan. Interest rates and repayment terms are determined by the lender rather than the federal government. Subsidized - Interest that accrues on a borrower's loan while the borrower is in school, grace, or authorized periods of deferment, is paid by the government. RELATED LINKS To apply for financial aid on the web you can link to To apply for a personal identification number (PIN) to make electronic corrections or to sign your FAFSA on the web, you can link to To conduct scholarship searches and access financial aid calculators you can link towww.finaid.org. The SmartStudent Guide to Financial Aid at contains excellent information about loans, scholarships, military aid and other related matters.

5 The Internet's largest free scholarship search is at LoanLocator is a free, internet-based service, which allows students to easily track their education loan information. This service is available through the National Student Loan Clearinghouse's web site and requires only that you provide your social security number and date of birth. LoanLocator delivers a list of your loan providers and ways to contact them by telephone or via Internet. Loan entrance and exit counseling can be completed by linking to or to

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