Financial aid is the money you and your child can get for educational expenses. It is designed to supplement the amount of money your family is able to contribute to the cost of the college.
In order to receive financial aid, a financial aid application (FAFSA) must be completed by the specified deadline. The FAFSA is not an easy application to fill out but very rewarding. Filling out the application online not only saves time but penmanship is not required. The FAFSA includes questions about student and parent income, family size, financial assets, and more. The application should be completed from January 1st through March 2nd of the student’s senior year.
Each FAFSA goes through a process called “Needs Analysis” to determine how much the student and parent can pay towards college expenses. This amount is called EFC (Expected Family Contribution). This is how the student’s financial need is calculated:
Financial need will vary because the budget for each college differs. The EFC stays the same at each college. The following are different types of financial aid:
The college will receive the information on the student’s FAFSA, including the EFC, and will put together a package that will likely include aid from several sources listed above. Every school may offer a different package. Each college the student lists on the FAFSA will send a Financial Aid Award Letter giving the details of the student’s financial aid package. The student can compare award letters to help decide which college to attend. The student must respond to the college to accept or decline each type of financial aid offered.
The following are important points to remember: