Financial Aid 101 Understanding the Basics

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1 FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) Financial Aid 101 UNDERSTANDING THE BASICS Electronic Application developed by US Dept. Education o Application can be found at Evaluates a Family s ability to pay for student s education Available January 1 st, 2012 Joan Henning Assistant Director, Financial Aid Gonzaga University Goal of Financial Aid Primary goal: Assist students in paying for college and is achieved by: o Evaluating families ability to pay educational costs o Distributing limited resources in an equitable manner o Providing balance of gift aid and self-help aid Expected Family Contribution What is it? How is it calculated? It is an estimate of the parents' and/or student's ability to contribute to postsecondary education expenses o (output from FAFSA) Range: $0- $99,999 Formula created by Congress o Reviewed & Updated each year Income (parent and student) Asset Equity (excluding home equity) Family Size Number of Family Members in College Age of Parents Financial Aid 101 The US Department of Education maintains that the primarily responsibility of paying for college rests with a student s family Principles of Need Analysis To extent they are able, parents have primary responsibility to pay for dependent child s education Students have a responsibility to contribute to educational costs Families should be evaluated in their present financial condition Family s estimated ability to pay educational costs must be evaluated in equitable and consistent manner, recognizing that special circumstances may affect family s ability to pay

2 Independent Student Definition 1. At least 24 years old by December 31 of award year covered by the FAFSA; 2. Married; 3. Graduate or professional student; 4. Currently serving on active duty in US Armed Forces; 5. Veteran of U.S. Armed Forces; 6. Has children or dependents (other than a spouse) for whom the student provides more than half support; 7. In foster care or an orphan or ward/dependent of the court after the age of Emancipated Minor; 9. As of FAFSA filing date, are you in a legal guardianship; 10. Unaccompanied youth who is homeless (as determined by an approved organization; or 11. Determined to be independent by financial aid administrator based on unusual circumstances 1 Need Varies Based on Cost 2 3 EFC 25,000 X 15,000 30,000 20,000 10,000 5,000 Cost of Expected Family Need Attendance Contribution (Variable) (Variable) (Constant) Y EFC 5,000 Z Cost of Attendance* Tuition and fees Room and board Books and supplies Transportation Miscellaneous personal expenses Study Abroad Costs Other fees Dependent care expenses Categories of Financial Aid Need-based o Aid based on your financial need Merit-based (or non-need) o Aid based on your grades, test scores, community service, hobbies and special talents (artistic, athletic, etc.) Gift aid: Grants and scholarships (need-based or meritbased) Self-help aid: Loans and employment (need-based or nonneed-based) *(varies by school ) Definition of Financial Need Cost of attendance (COA) Expected family contribution (EFC) = Financial Need Financial Aid Application Process

3 Application Process Admission Application Institutional Aid Application CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE - Available now at o Not all schools require o Small fee (around $25) Role of the Financial Aid Office Determines aid eligibility using federal formula Packages aid depending on availability of funds Sends award notification including: o Award amount for each program for which student is eligible o Disbursement methods and time frames o Terms and conditions of each award Application Process Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) o Required for federal, state aid, and institutional aid in some cases o Deadlines vary from school to school o Several filing methods Paper version FAFSA on the WEB (www.fafsa.gov) Pin #: parent AND student (www.pin.ed.gov) Basic Application Flow Student and school receive Student Aid Report (SAR) from federal processor after FAFSA is received and processed School matches admissions record with financial aid application and determines eligibility School mails award letter to student Student mails award letter back to school Application Process Submit FAFSA prior to school s deadline Most aid awarded on first-come, firstserved basis To ensure maximum consideration for federal, state, and institutional aid, check information from each school to determine: o Required application materials o Application deadlines Financial Aid Timeline Apply for Aid (January-February 2012) Receive Award Letter (April-May) Comply with Information Requests (April-May) National School Decision Deadline - May 1 Verification and Aid Coordination (Summer) Re-apply for Aid (January-February 2013)

4 Is There Life AfterMissed Deadlines? Yes, but Award letter may be delayed Certain funds may be unavailable: Institutional grants and scholarships Free federal money Work-study Application of funds may be after payment due date Work Programs Employment during school Federal or State Work Study, Institutional Work, or Community Jobs Job may be on or off campus Program varies from school to school Benefits of working Sources of Financial Aid Federal and State Grants Federal and State Work-Study Federal Loans Institutional Aid Private Funding Federal Student Loans Perkins Loan Direct Loans o Need based o $4,000 annual loan limit o Nine-month grace period o Interest rate: 5% during repayment o No fees o Deferment and cancellation provisions available o Subsidized & Unsubsidized Determined by Need o Annual loan limits determined by student s year in school o Six-month grace period o Interest rate: Fixed o Up to 1.5% fees o Incentives exist during repayment Federal & State Grants Need Based o Federal Pell Grant o Federal SEOG o Washington State Need Grant o Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Academic & Need Based o TEACH Grant Federal PLUS Loan Parent borrows on behalf of dependent undergraduate student Credit based Annual Loan limit: COA minus other aid Interest rate: 7.9% Fees: 4% Repayment begins 60 days after loan is fully disbursed for parent borrowers

5 Other Sources of Funds Financial Aid Consultants State grants, scholarships, loans, and work programs School need-based and non-need-based programs (e.g., academic, athletic, and other talent-based scholarships and grants) Private business scholarships (e.g., Wal-Mart, Gates Foundation, etc.) Civic organization scholarships (e.g., PTA, Elks Club, etc.) Free assistance is available Be wary of any consultant who encourages you to use strategies that seem unethical Avoid consultants who encourage you to misreport your income Private Scholarship Search Community: Library resources, High School Guidance Counselors, Community Organizations, Employers and Labor Unions, Professional Associations, Corporations / Foundations, Churches, Banks/Credit Unions Free Internet scholarship search engines: o FinAid on the Web: o College Board: o FastWeb: o Scholarship Resource Network Express: o GoCollege: The Collegiate Websource: Additional Financial Resources Inquire about tuition installment plans o Spreads tuition payments through the year o Low sign-up fees, low or no interest charged Consider alternative loan programs o Federal non-need based educational loans o Private educational loans o Home equity or line-of-credit loans Gates Millennium: Avoid Being Scammed Billions of Dollars Unclaimed... Several warning signs of a possible scam o Guaranteed winnings o Free seminars on financial aid o telephone numbers Money Back Guarantee Check legitimacy of scholarship search services or consultants visit: o U.S. Department of Education o Federal Trade Commission o Better Business Bureau CAUTION: As a general rule, if you must pay money to get money, it might be a scam. Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) Out of state tuition at 150% of in state rate 15 states in the west Certain state schools with certain programs Mark WUE on admission application

6 Where Do I Go From Here? Check each schools website/materials (that you are applying to) for Admission and Financial Aid information Meet all application deadlines o Complete FAFSA and other application materials, such as College Scholarship Service s PROFILE application, IF required o Submit all requested follow-up documents Investigate other sources of aid Completing the FAFSA Special Circumstances Loss of Job Loss of Benefits Natural Disaster Separation/Divorce Death in Family Other Contact the financial aid office Getting Ready Gather records you will need o Student s driver s license and Social Security card o W-2 forms and other records of money earned in 11 o 2010 federal income tax returns (for estimates) o Records of untaxed income o Current bank statements o Business and farm records o Records of stocks, bonds and other investments Make it a family affair Figuring Out the Best Deal Develop an Award Comparison Chart Consider direct, non-direct and total costs at each institution Review types, amounts and renewability of gift aid (free money) Compare types and amounts of self-help aid (workstudy and/or loans) Determine any amount you ll need to pay in addition to awards being offered FAFSA on the Web Web site: FAFSA on the Web available on January 1, 2012 FAFSA on the Web Worksheet: o Use as pre-application worksheet o Questions follow order of FAFSA on the Web

7 CAUTION! Avoid being charged a fee to file the FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid o Completion and processing of the FAFSA are FREE o Be sure to go directly to o Contact financial aid office for help completing the FAFSA Frequent FAFSA Errors Parent and student Social Security Numbers Divorced/remarried parental information Income earned by parents/stepparents Untaxed income U.S. income taxes paid Household size Number of household members in college Real estate and investment net worth PIN Registration Web site: Can request PIN now Not required, but speeds processing May be used by students and parents throughout aid process, including subsequent school years FAFSA Processing Results Central Processing System (CPS) notifies student of FAFSA processing results by: o notification containing a direct link to student s on-line SAR if student s was provided on paper or electronic FAFSA o Paper Student Aid Report (SAR) if student s address was not provided Student with PIN can view SAR on-line at Avoid errors! Errors on the FAFSA or supplemental forms may delay application processing and result in the loss of financial aid funds. Making Corrections If necessary, corrections to FAFSA data may be made by: o Using FAFSA on the Web (www.fafsa.ed.gov) if student has a PIN; o Updating paper SAR (SAR Information Acknowledgement cannot be used to make corrections); or o Submitting documentation to school s financial aid office Read the instructions and complete all forms carefully!

8 Questions? Good Luck!

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