Where to go and what to get
The US Department of Education offers three types of assistance - grants, loans, and work study - to help college students pay tuition and other costs of attendance. A quick breakdown of the federal programs available to most students and their benefits includes:
- Federal Pell Grants
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
- Teacher Education Assistance for College & Higher Education Grants (TEACH)
- Iraq & Afghanistan Service Grant
- Federal Perkins Loans
- William D. Ford Direct Stafford Loan - Subsidized
- William D. Ford Direct Stafford Loan - Unsubsidized
- Direct PLUS Loan
- Federal Work-Study
Information about each program is available here.
Financial aid advisers at your university of choice are also very helpful at determining what form of aid is best for you. Get in touch with an adviser today.
Don't hesitate ... investigate!
Enrolling students should contact each of their candidate college's admissions and financial aid departments to determine how best to integrate and utilize federal, state, or other financial aid programs available to them. Many programs are time-sensitive as to commencement, disbursement, application documentation, and other important processing procedures so students are encouraged to apply for financial aid as soon as possible .
Can a student apply for more than one program?
Yes. As a part of the application process, students select the programs for which they would like consideration. Typically, everyone is considered for grants, but if a student is interested in student loans or work study, they must indicate it on the application.
How much Federal Student Aid can a student expect to receive?
The amount and nature of the award depends on individual need. However, the US Department of Education Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website has a calculator which can help narrow down the numbers. Enrolling students can go here and click on the MyFSA tab to set up a personal account which can be used to determine potential financial aid amounts from Department of Education programs.
What information is needed in order to complete a FAFSA?
In order to complete a FAFSA, the applying student needs their Social Security number, driver license, income tax return, bank statements, and investment records. Go here to fill out a PDF form online. The form can also be filled out and mailed in or the student can submit the form over the telephone.
When should a student fill-out the FAFSA?
As soon as the student knows they want to go to college. The FAFSA form can be updated and corrected once it has been submitted, so apply early! Although a student can apply for Federal Student Aid throughout the year, they need to apply early if they want to secure funding before classes actually begin . Check with local financial aid administrators about the specific financial aid deadlines for their school or go to the FAFSA website to get information about deadline dates.
Diligence, determination, documentation, and discovery
When a student applies for federal financial aid, they can be doing the same thing on the state and local level as well. Why not kill several birds with the same stone? Most financial aid providers require the same information for application so why not send the info out to all who could provide financial assistance? Follow up, responsiveness, and a coordinated pursuit of the goal is necessary if any financial aid resource is going to work out in favor of the student . Several web-based resources are available to enrolling students to help locate and apply for scholarships, grants, and other forms of assistance. Caution should be exercised when it comes to any website requesting payment to provide information. Students are advised to avoid these websites in favor of free help and support.