It s Time to Apply for Financial Aid

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1 It s Time to Apply for Financial Aid Minnetonka High School Webinar January 11, 2013

2 Speakers for this presentation Kathy Ruby (former) Dean of Student Financial Aid St. Olaf College Janet Swiecichowski Executive Director for Communications Minnetonka Public Schools Phil Trout College Counselor Minnetonka High School

3 Five easy steps Apply for a PIN Collect the documents you ll need File the FAFSA File other required materials Research scholarship opportunities

4 Step 1: Apply for PIN 4 digit electronic signature used to sign the online FAFSA as well as federal student and parent loan promissory notes. Apply at The student and one parent will need a PIN PIN stays with you for life and will be used for all future applications (including for other children s FAFSA forms)

5 Step 2: Collect your documents 2012 W-2 forms 2012 student and parent federal tax return (if completed) 2011 student and parent federal tax return (if 2012 not completed) bank/investment account balance and other asset information

6 Step 3: Complete the FAFSA Completing and processing the FAFSA is free! Never pay a fee to file the FAFSA (avoid fafsa.com) Complete the FAFSA after January 1 of your senior year deadlines matter! Check each institution s deadline. Contact your school s financial aid office - if you need help.

7 FAFSA On The Web

8 Meeting deadlines is essential Know each college s priority deadlines Read and retain all the communications you receive. Read each school s website or contact each school s Financial Aid Office Merit scholarship deadlines Admission deadlines Financial Aid deadlines Deadlines for supplemental documents tax returns, W2s, etc.

9 Financial aid timeline Complete applications Jan 1 March 1 Institutional scholarship notifications sent on a rolling basis beginning in the fall Need-based financial aid awards sent in mid-late March (earlier ones are usually estimates) National Candidate Reply Date: May 1, 2013 Private scholarships often not awarded until May or June

10 If parents are divorced/separated: Custodial parent (and step-parent if remarried) completes FAFSA. Custodial parent defined as the parent the student resided with the most in previous 12 months. If custody is equally shared, then provide info for the parent who provided the most support in the last 12 months.

11 IRS data retrieval You will be asked if you want to transfer your tax data from the IRS Will only work if you filed your taxes electronically at least two weeks before filing the FAFSA Since deadlines are so early in the year, most first-year applicants can t use this when first filing the FAFSA. You can (and should) go back later and update the FAFSA to retrieve the IRS data.

12 Be careful Put your name and SSN on FAFSA exactly how it appears on your social security card Refer to completed federal income tax return and consult instructions for proper line reference If entry is zero or none, enter 0--don t leave blank Enter school code(s) Student and one parent must both sign dependent student s FAFSA using the PIN

13 Expected Family Contribution (EFC) The EFC is calculated from the information you provide on the FAFSA according to a formula established by law. You can get an estimate of your EFC using the FAFSA 4-caster tool at:

14 How is the EFC calculated? Included (will be reported on FAFSA): Adjusted gross income Household size Number in college Non-retirement savings and investments Equity in a second home/cabin Equity in an investment farm or a business that has more than 100 employees Not Included (should not be reported on FAFSA): Equity in the primary residence Value of retirement accounts Value of a farm (if you live on an operate it) Value of a business (if there are fewer than 100 employees)

15 Special circumstances When the numbers don t tell the whole story Family situation Prior debt When the situation has changed (or is expected to change) Change in employment Medical expenses Marital status Must be able to provide documentation Copies of bills, canceled checks, termination letters, etc. Write to EACH financial aid office to explain the situation

16 Step 4: Submit other required documents Review website and read s from institution (i.e., tell your student to) CSS PROFILE? (www.collegeboard.com) Required by Carleton, Macalester, St. Olaf and about 300 other institutions Institutional application? Scholarship application? Tax returns?

17 Step 5: Research scholarship opportunities Each of the institutions to which you are applying Local organizations, corporations, churches, foundations Research, research, research

18 Step 6: Review aid awards carefully Compare: Ask Questions: Costs of Attendance (COA) Is the grant and/or scholarship renewable? Total amount of aid Types of aid offered What are the terms for renewing? (GPA, number of credits, course of study, etc.) Amount of gift aid (grant/scholarship) Is the amount of work-study realistic? Amount of loan (interest rate, repayment terms, etc.) Will aid change from year to year? Will aid increase if COA increases?

19 Good Luck! Call your friendly financial aid officer or your college counselor if you have questions at any time during the process!

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