Yes, its true, school is expensive. With tuition, books, the cost of dorm living, travel, and other necessities, the bill for getting a higher education stacks up. Its unfortunate to see those with lower incomes give up on their dreams because of a financial brick wall. Uncle Sam wants you to go to school, there are so many resources out there for anybody with dreams of a higher education.
There are ways to take advantage of these resources, and one of them is FAFSA. FAFSA stands for "Free Application for Federal Student Aid", where you can determine whether you are eligible for Stafford loans, Pell grants, work-study programs and PLUS loans. You can apply annually, whether you are a current student, or plan to be one the following semester.
There is now a FAFSA on the web interactive application.
Am I eligible? Student that are eligible posses the following...
- Has a High School Diploma, or GED
- Is a U.S. citizen with a social security number or legal and eligible non-citizen
- Does not owe outstanding amounts on any previous student loans.
- If male (aged 18-25), registered with the U.S. Selective Service
- Have not been charged with possession of any illegal drugs during any time period when federal student loan assistance was provided.
What documents do I need to have?
- Social Security number
- Drivers licence
- Income tax returns
- Bank statements
- Investment records
How much aid should i be expected to receive?
This depends on your year in school, eligibility status, and EFC (Expected Family Contribution) Your EFC can be determined when filling out the FAFSA fourm.
Tips for filling out the application
- Use the FAFSA websites search engine to search for your school's code
- Remember, any time the word "you" or "your" is used in the application, it means the student applying.
- You will need to apply for a PIN to sign your application electronically (if using the web application)
- Ensure your tax return is completed on time.
- Prepare for your FAFSA application by printing out a copy for the FAFSA on the web worksheet
- Student Access will allow you to view/print your Student Aid Report
- Additional worksheets for special cases, such as those with prior drug convictions can be found here.
For the 2008-2009 school year, the deadline is June, 30th 2009. All corrections on the web must be completed by September, 15th 2009. Be sure to double check that your school has 100% correct and complete information.
For the 2009-2010 school year, the deadline is June,30th 2010, All corrections on the web must be completed by September, 15th 2009. Be sure double check that your school has 100% correct and complete information.
It is ideal to submit your application by January, 1st of the new year. Time is of the essence.
Remember that this is a process, and does require parent participation (there are exceptions for students that are legally emancipated, financially independent, or have deceased parents). You can check to see whether or not your need parent participation by taking a look at the Dependency Status Worksheet.