Applying for Financial Aid: Start Now!
The first step to getting financial aid is to be sure you apply for as much as possible. The two most used forms are available to be completed now.
What is the FAFSA? FAFSA stands for FREE Application for Federal Student Aid – it is the free government application to apply for federal grants, loans, and work-study for college. All US citizens and students with legal status in the US should complete the FAFSA regardless of whether you think your family’s income and assets will put you out of range for need-based financial aid. Many colleges, state scholarship agencies, and foundations also use the FAFSA in deciding who gets their scholarship money.
What is the CSS Profile? The College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile is an online application developed by the College Board and used by many private colleges (and some public universities) and scholarship programs to award financial aid and/or scholarships. There is a fee to submit the CSS Profile so check the list of colleges and programs to know if you need to complete this application.
- Check Requirements
- Check on FAFSA codes for colleges
- Check requirements for filing extra forms such as CSS Profile or own college forms
- Check if your state requires additional forms for residents applying to state colleges
- Gather ALL the information needed. Be sure you have:
- Your social security number
- Parents’ social security numbers
- Your income statement (if you had any) for the past year
- Amount in savings, checking or other types of assets
- Copy of latest tax return
- File Early
- File your financial aid forms as early as possible
- Check all deadlines at colleges you are applying to and mark them on your calendar
- Inform Colleges of Special Circumstances. Let the college know in a separate letter if:
- A parent lost a job or had a decrease in income
- Parents divorced recently
- There is a family member with special medical costs
- There are other financial circumstances in your family the college should know about
- Report more information than requested.
- Don’t include assets from parent retirement
- Don’t include a farm your family lives on
- Don’t include a small business income or assets
- Don’t include your family home as an asset
- Create a Financial Aid Form report to use when completing your FAFSA. It summarizes all the financial aid requirements for each of the schools on your list and has the FAFSA codes for all your colleges.
- Complete the EFC Calculator Survey in Surveys section.
- Watch for milestone reminder emails about upcoming financial aid deadlines.
- Check financial aid statistics in GuidedPath on each college on your list.
- Mark off each financial aid milestone as you complete it.