For many families, a significant factor in the college process centers around financial aid. In this section, we would like to identify some of the key pieces of applying, explain how colleges factor financial aid into admissions and award packages, and describe how the typical financial aid package might be developed. These policies will vary from school to school, so we urge you to read the materials provided by each college and to contact their offices if you have questions.
APPLYING FOR FINANCIAL AID
Each school will have specific requirements for financial aid. The two most commonly used forms are FAFSA and Profile. All colleges require FAFSA. .There are also many schools that include their own financial aid form as part of the application packet. So, you may have one, two, or even three aid application forms for any one school.
I. FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
This form becomes available January 1 of the student's senior year at: www.fafsa.ed.gov
Warning: Be sure to use the .GOV web address and not .COM. .COM takes you to site that charges a fee and this application for federal aid is FREE!
All students applying for any Federal financial aid must file this form as soon as possible after January 1. There is no cost to file this form. Analysis of the data on this form will determine eligibility for Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG), Stafford Loans (both subsidized and non-subsidized), Perkins Loans, Work Study and other federal and state programs. Many states will also require the FAFSA to award state grants to students. Since federal aid is a key part to most awards, it is critical that this is filed in a timely manner.
A FAFSA worksheet is available at: FAFSA Worksheet
II. CSS Financial Aid PROFILE
A few schools require PROFILE in addition to FAFSA. Those schools requiring PROFILE will indicate this in all of their literature. These forms are available online at: PROFILE
Information obtained by PROFILE will be used to determine a student's eligibility for a college/university's own funds.
Students should complete a PROFILE registration form in early fall. Students will answer a core of questions and indicate colleges to which they will apply. They will pay an initial registration fee and additional costs per college.
III. Financial Aid Forms Specific to an Individual College
In some cases, a college will provide a short financial aid form as part of their own application. This must be completed and returned to the individual college by the stated deadline.