FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT APPLYING FOR FINANCIAL AID
(Watch out for our FAQS Updates)
 

Who is eligible for financial aid?
Eligibility for most federal student aid is based on financial need and on several other factors.  The most basic eligibility requirements to receive federal student aid are that you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen,
  • Have a valid Social Security number,
  • Register (if you haven’t already) with the Selective Service, if you’re a male between the ages of 18 and 25,
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress in college or career school, and
  • Show you’re qualified to obtain a postsecondary education

How will I know what and how much aid I’m eligible for?
The information you report on your FAFSA is used to determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is calculated by a formula established by law. The EFC is not the amount of money that your family must provide. Rather, you should think of the EFC as an index that colleges use to determine how much financial aid (grants, loans or work-study) you would receive if you were to attend their school. If your EFC is below a certain number, you’ll be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant assuming you meet all other eligibility requirements.

For our other aid programs, the financial aid administrator at your college or career school takes your cost of attendance and then subtracts your EFC, the amount of a Federal Pell Grant you are eligible for, and aid you will get from other sources. The result is your remaining financial need:

  • Cost of Attendance
  • EFC
  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Eligibility
 Aid From Other Sources
= Remaining Financial Need

A financial aid administrator can consider special or unusual circumstances such as unusual medical expenses, tuition expenses, or unemployment and can adjust your cost of attendance or some of the information used to calculate your EFC.

What is the Cost of Attendance?
The total amount it will cost you to go to school usually expressed as a yearly figure. It’s determined using rules established by law. The COA includes tuition and fees; on-campus room and board (or a housing and food allowance for off-campus students); and allowances for books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, and, if applicable, dependent care. It also includes miscellaneous and personal expenses, including an allowance for the rental or purchase of a personal computer. Costs related to a disability are also covered. The COA includes reasonable costs for eligible study-abroad programs as well.  Talk to the financial aid administrator at the school you’re planning to attend if you have any unusual expenses that might affect your cost of attendance.

What is the deadline for the FAFSASM application?
Submit your application as early as possible, but no earlier than January 1. For the 2011-2012 school year, we must have your application no later than June 30, 2012. Your college must have your correct, complete information by your last day of enrollment in the 2011-2012 school year.
Each college also has a priority deadline.  To qualify for the maximum amount of financial aid, you must meet the college’s priority deadline.

I haven’t finished my taxes yet. What should I do?
If you are facing a deadline and want to get the application in as soon as possible, you may estimate your tax amounts for now. Once you have completed your tax forms, make the corrections to your file either on the Web or by mailing in your paper SAR.

I have questions about my financial aid award. Who should I contact?
Contact the financial aid office at your school. The financial aid administrator at a postsecondary institution combines various forms of aid into a package to help meet a student’s need. Using available resources to give each student the best possible package of aid is one of the aid administrator’s major responsibilities. Because funds are often limited, a financial aid package might fall short of the amount a student is eligible for. Also, the amount of federal student aid in a financial aid package is affected by other sources of aid received (scholarships, state aid, etc).

Answers to FAQS are credited to the U.S. Department of Education’s informational website: www.studentaid.ed.gov.  Visit Student Aid on the Web for in-depth information on federal student aid programs, applying for financial aid, and repaying student loans.