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What Is Financial Aid?
Financial aid is college financial aid that isn’t derived from personal savings or family members, or income. Instead, it may take shape in grants, work-study opportunities, and loans that are either private or federally funded. The financial aid program can be used to pay for most costs associated with higher education, such as fees and tuition, room and board, textbooks and other supplies, and even transportation.
Aid comes from many sources. It could come from federal and state agencies, universities, high schools, community associations, foundations, corporations, and many more. What extent of the financial aid you will receive is contingent on the guidelines set by various sources and federal university, state, and federal guidelines.
How Financial Aid Works
If you’re seeking the financial assistance you need to attend college, the process typically begins by studying the aid program’s requirements and submitting an application. First, the aid source will review applications to determine eligibility. Then, if they do, they will determine your eligible amount and the conditions attached to it.
The criteria of financial aid are usually determined by merit or need. To be eligible for merit-based financial aid, students’ academic achievements and extracurricular activities are considered. Aid that is based on need depends on a student’s financial need and is often assessed by looking at their household’s earnings, benefits, and assets. In analyzing a family’s financial health, there is a two-year glance back time.
If you are eligible for merit-based or need-based financial aid will depend on the kind of aid you request.
Important Application Forms: FAFSA and the CSS Profile
There are two main ways to financial aid once you begin college. The first is called the free application of Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is administered by the U.S. department of education and must be completed to be eligible for federal aid, as well as for the majority of state and college aid.
The second, referred to by The CSS Profile, is a program sponsored by the College Board and used by around 400 mostly private colleges and universities to provide the non-government financial aid they receive from these institutions.
Each form has specific deadlines and procedures (see the details below). It is important to submit the FAFSA even if you aren’t sure you’ll qualify to receive federal aid. It’s because (a) you could be mistaken or (b) even If you’re right, FAFSA is required for the majority of local or state college financial aid, which includes merit scholarships. The decision to submit your CSS Profile probably depends on the type of financial aid you’re interested in, or the school you’re planning to take a class at will require submission.
How Do I Apply for Financial Aid?
The first step is to fill out the free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known informally as FAFSA. Numerous states and colleges use this application to determine the amount of college aid.
It is available on the FAFSA is available on the U.S. Department of Education’s site. Families can begin filling in the form in early October. 1. for the next academic year. The deadline for filling out the FAFSA deadline is the 30th of June for students who will be attending college in the autumn. However, that deadline only applies to Federal financial aid. Numerous colleges and schools which use the FAFSA to calculate aid have earlier deadlines.
Certain schools – usually private institutions – utilize an additional form, The College Scholarship Service Profile, or CSS Profile, to decide the best way to distribute their own money. The form is more thorough than the FAFSA and is longer to fill.
The fee for the initial submission of CSS Profile is $25; each subsequent report costs $16. However, fee waivers are also available. Students in the undergraduate program with families earning $100k or lower, for example, can fill the form without cost.
The list of schools that require the CSS Profile can be located on the website of the College Board, the organization that manages and runs the application.
“Bear in mind, the CSS Profile will dig much deeper into your family’s finances than the FAFSA,” states Joseph Orsolini, president of College Aid Planners Inc.
For example, the CSS Profile considers assets that aren’t included in the FAFSA. It considers the value of a family’s house, small business, home, or Grandparents-funded 529 savings for college, for instance, to mention some of the differentiators.
What Can Financial Aid Do to Help you pay?
In most cases, the financial aid program can be used to pay for the expenses associated with attending school, as specified in the school’s specific Cost of Attendance (COA). The COA usually includes fees, tuition including books, school supplies, and other costs of living (room as well as the board). However, it is important to remember that certain types of institutional aid might have specific criteria for awarding and may only apply to expenses directly charged to students (those costs are listed on the student’s college bill).
Do you have to repay financial aid?
Students are not required to pay back the grants and scholarships as they are considered gifts aid.
Grants are usually given by the states, the federal government, or colleges and are typically determined by the need for financial aid. For instance, the Pell Grant and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (also known as FSEOG are offered to undergraduate students with significant financial needs. To be eligible for many grants, students must fill out the free application to Federal Student Aid, FAFSA.
They are usually awarded based on merit, athletic ability, or other academic achievements or characteristics of the student.
Aid from aid provided through the government’s work-study programs is not required to be returned. Students must remember, however, that they have to be on campus, usually in order to earn their hourly wages.
To be considered for work-study, students need to fill out the FAFSA and state that they’re looking to apply for federal work-study. The amount of work-study they receive depends on factors such as their financial needs and the amount of work-study funds the school received in that year, and it is recommended that the Department of Education recommends students complete the FAFSA early in order to improve their chances of receiving.
The student’s financial aid plan, which includes the loan options, will be described in the Financial Aid Award Letter. The letter can be a source of confusion because some institutions do not clearly distinguish the financial assistance that is and doesn’t have to be returned.