Understanding Financial Aid
Financial aid is the a way for students of any income or financial situation to find and obtain funds to attend college. The federal assistance program is a Federally funded program that assists students in obtaining grants and low-interest loans to go to college. There is over $185 billion in financial aid available for students.
How do I apply?
To apply for financial aid students fill out the free FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form located at www.fasfa.gov.
What documents do I need to apply?
- Your Social Security Card/Number. Be cautious to enter your number in correctly. Making a mistake could cause a serious application processing delays.
- Driver’s License, only if you have one.
- Your W-2’s and Records of Income
- Your Federal Income Tax Return for the previous year. If you are a dependent student, you will be using your parent’s tax return when completing the FAFSA.
- Alien or Residency Card
- Bank statements
- Business information if you own a business.
What is EFC?
EFC stands for Expected Family Contribution and indicates the amount that you are expected to contribute towards your tuition. The higher your EFC, the lower the amount of the Federal Grant will be.
Is there a way for me to get a rough estimate of the financial aid I may receive?
Absolutely! The FAFSA4Caster is free to use and will give you an estimate of your EFC and funds you should receive.
It can be found at https://fafsa.ed.gov/FAFSA/app/f4cForm?execution=e1s1
Will taking a break impact financial aid?
If you decide to take a break from college, any funds awarded will be returned. Upon your decision to return, you may have to reapply using the FAFSA. Reapplying for the FAFSA is required each year for all students attending college.
How long can I receive financial aid for?
Students can receive the PELL Grant for a maximum of 6 years.
Loans are available up to the following amounts each year for Independent Students:
- First Year Students – $9,500 with a maximum of $3,500 in Subsidized Loans
- Second Year Students – $10,500 with a maximum of $4,500 in Subsidized Loans
- Third Year and Beyond Undergraduate – $12,500 with a maximum of $5,500 in Subsidized Loans
- Graduate or Professional Students – $20,500
For a total maximum of $57, 500 in allowable loans for an undergraduate and $138,500 for graduate students.
What is the difference between Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans?
Interest on subsidized loans are paid by the government while your are in school. For Unsubsidized loans students are responsible for paying the interest.
When do I have to pay back my loans?
Loan payments will begin within six months from the date of your official withdrawal or graduation from classes. If you are experiencing financial difficulties, it is possible to defer repayment longer.
Is there assistace from Financial Aid that I don’t have to pay back?
Yes, these are called Pell Grants.