There are many options available to help you pay for college like scholarships, grants, work study, family contributions, savings, and federal and private student loans. Learn more about financial aid.
The US Department of Education's Student Aid on the Web and FAFSA on the Web are packed with valuable information. Another great source of information is your school's website and financial aid office.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form determines your eligibility for Pell Grants, Direct Stafford Loans, Direct PLUS Loans and other types of federal financial aid. A FAFSA form must be completed each year that you wish to be considered for financial aid. We recommend you complete the FAFSA every year, even if you do not think you qualify for federal aid. You can apply online and a complete list of items you need to have ready is available at FAFSA on the Web.
According to a federal law, as of July 1, 2010, only the US Department of Education can offer federal student loans. If federal student loans are not enough, our private student loans allow you to borrow up to the full cost of your education.
Many schools will automatically consider you for grants and scholarships when you apply for admission. However, to maximize money that doesn't have to be paid back, we recommend you consult with your high school guidance counselor and visit scholarship search engines for those scholarships not offered by your school. You can visit:
Earnings from Federal Work-Study are taxable and should be reported included on the FAFSA as wages. That said, Federal Work-Study earnings are not counted as additional income on your FAFSA. We encourage you to consult a tax professional and visit the IRS website at irs.gov for more information.
Your SAR takes all of the information from your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and calculates your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Your EFC is what schools use to calculate how much financial aid you may be eligible to receive. Generally, you will receive your SAR within a few days if you filed your FAFSA electronically and up to four weeks if you filed through the mail. It's important to carefully review your SAR so you can make any corrections to your FAFSA, if necessary.
When a student's parents are divorced or separated and not living together, only the custodial parent's information needs to be included on the FAFSA. The custodial parent is the one you lived with most over the last 12 months. If it was equal time, then it's the parent who provided the most financial support during that time.
If the custodial parent has remarried, the stepparent will also need to report their financial information on the FAFSA.
There are no income requirements or cap to the amount of money you can earn to qualify for federal student aid. Many factors go into the financial aid equation, such as the number of children in college and the parents' age.
Most people qualify for some financial aid, so it's always a good idea to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).