Financial Aid FAQ
Q: What is Financial Aid?
A: Financial aid is federal money for college and is based on financial need. The recommendation of our office and college financial aid offices is that every college bound senior fills out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This is the first step in determining whether you are eligible for grants (money you don’t have to pay back) and student loans (low interest loans for education). Financial aid is not determined by your GPA or ACT score.
Q: What do I need to know to fill out the FAFSA?
A: First, know that it is free to apply, so never use a site that is telling you that you have to pay to apply for financial aid! Go to www.fafsa.ed.gov for the official application.
Watch this video for an overview of the fafsa:
You will be applying for financial aid with your tax info as well as your parent’s. You and your parents will also need an FSAID (Federal Student Aid ID) in order to submit the application. This is a way of providing an electronic signature.
Watch this video that explains what the FSAID is and how to create one.
Q: Is there a deadline to apply for Financial Aid?
A: Yes, but that date will be specific to the college you are attending, so check on their website or call their Financial Aid Office. And remember that there may be a priority deadline for certain types of limited funding aid, like state grants or work study.
Q: Any other tips I should keep in mind?
- Apply early (the FAFSA is available in October for the following fall)
- Be accurate- the name you use on your FAFSA must match your name on your Social Security Card
- Write down your FSAID, passwords and security questions somewhere that they will be safe and secure – you will use this information again the next year
- Apply for admission at your chosen schools and list them on your FAFSA and they will be sent that information
- Get used to checking your email regularly and note that email clients may send emails from colleges to your spam or junk folder. Be sure to watch for that and add them to your contacts list as this is how most colleges will communicate with you.
- Colleges have privacy restrictions on your information. If you want your parents to be able to talk with the Financial Aid Office on your behalf, make sure you find out how to give them that permission.