Wednesday, August 5, 2015

College: Financial Aid

Congrats on deciding to attain a higher education. If you haven’t done your research already, you probably found out that college can be quite affordable if you choose to fill out the financial aid form. Again, I want to give kudos to you for wanting to learn more about this financial aid.

As luck would have it, more than $238 billion in financial aid is available throughout the United States to help pay for college for those who truly need it. By filling out your financial aid application, also known as FAFSA, this is the first step in applying.

Nonetheless, here is all the information you need to know to fill out your FASFA correctly the first time. I know how important it is to have your FASFA done right the first time, so you can get the money you need to further pursue your education.

Source: Wikipedia

What is a FAFSA?

Unfortunately, all college students are expected to contribute to their college tuition. However, this all depends on how much you and your family financial situation, also known as Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

Basically, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA is a form from the U.S. Department of Education requirement to determine your family’s EFC. All in all, the government then will conduct a “need analysis” on the financial information you and your family provided, such as assets, income, and any other information deemed financial.

Then your application will be looked over by a federal processor, which then releases your results electronically to your school's financial aid office.

FAFSA helps colleges determine your eligibility for state, federal, grants, college sponsored financial aid, loans, and work study programs.


Just about every student is eligible for some kind of financial aid, whether it be a low-interest Federal Stafford, parent PLUSloans, or a federal grant. Doesn’t matter about income nor the circumstances, provided that you:
  •       Is a U.S citizen, an eligible non-citizen, or a U.S. national
  •         Provided a valid U.S. Social Security number
  •          Attained a high school diploma and/or GED
  •          If you are a male between 18 to 25, you are registered with the U.S. Selective Service
  •          Filled out the FAFSA form
  •          Do not owe any money on federal student grants
  •          No student loans are in default
  •         Also, you cannot be found guilty for possession or sale of illegal drugs during the time you are receiving financial aid.

Applying for aid

To be considered for financial aid, you need to complete your FAFSA before the deadline. However, you should know that different states, universities, and college's awards students with a variety type of aid, such as college and state sponsored grants, work study programs, and loans.
Also, some states and even some colleges will require you to file another form for aid, you will need to check with your college financial aid department for their requirements.


You can start filing your FASFA in the beginning of January. However, if you want to really get a head start on your FAFSA, you can use FAFSAFirst in the fall. FAFSAFirst will then submit your form to a federal processor when the filing begins in early January.

One thing you need to know is, federal aid is limited and is on a first-come, first-served basis, so the earlier you file better chance of you getting the most out of the aid.

Many states, colleges, and universities have filing deadlines as early as the first weeks in January.

Also, keep in mind that your college and/or universities have deadlines to file your FAFSA. You will want to pay close attention to the deadline. You don’t want to miss the deadline because you can lose any and all opportunities to receive financial aid for that school year.  All in all, if you are unsure, call up your college financial aid department.

Nonetheless, financial aid can definitely make paying for school much easier. Always keep in contact with your financial aid department, especially if you are not sure of their deadlines. 

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