February 9, 2018

Student financial aid facts by Suzanne Hatfield

For those juniors and seniors who are considering college as their next step after high school and are needing financial aid, Suzanne Hatfield offers information and advice in a sometimes, complicated process. Hatfield is a certified school counselor who worked in Maine high schools for 20 years before her retirement. She is a member of the American Counseling Association and the American College Counseling Association.
There are various types of financial aid for individuals who plan to attend colleges and career schools. Aid is awarded by the federal government, the student’s state government, colleges/career schools and private and non-profit organizations. 

Financial aid types include grants and scholarships that generally do not have to be repaid. However, a portion of grant funds may have to be repaid if the student withdraws from school. Grants are often need-based while scholarships are usually merit-based. Financial aid can also come from loans, work study jobs, aid for Military Families and tax benefits.
Federal aid may cover the cost of tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies as well as transportation. Individuals apply for federal student aid by completing and submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Many states, colleges/career schools, and private financial aid providers use the student’s FAFSA information to determine eligibility for aid.

There are different FAFSA deadlines for different financial aid programs, so applicants who plan to attend school in 2018-2019 should fill out and submit the form as soon as possible, but no later than June 30, 2019. To remain eligible for federal aid, students must submit the FAFSA form each year.
Individuals can fill out and submit the FAFSA online at fafsa.gov, download a FAFSA PDF, or order
a print-out of the FAFSA PDF. The FAFSA PDF must be mailed.

https://www.egcu.org/autoFor tips on filling out the FAFSA, go to the 2018-2019 FAFSA on the Web Worksheet or call 1-800-433-3243. TTY users (hearing impaired) can call 1-800-730-8913. For help in answering questions on the 2018-2019 FAFSA form, go to studentaid.ed.gov.

Students, parents and borrowers are required to use a Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID), made up of a username and password. The FSA ID must be saved since it is used when accessing the applicant’s financial aid information and electronically signing federal student documents. Once the FAFSA has been submitted, college/career school applicants will get an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) which is used by the schools to determine how much aid individuals may receive.

When the FAFSA has been processed, the office of Federal Student Aid at the U.S. Department of Education will send a Student Aid Report (SAR). Students and parents should make any necessary corrections to the SAR and resubmit. The SAR is used to create a list of financial aid for which the student is eligible.

School aid offers from the colleges/career schools that have admitted the applicant will inform the individual concerning the financial aid she/he can receive. Families can then compare aid offers.

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