Understanding FAFSA

Understanding FAFSA

keep-calm-and-file-your-fafsa-5

I decided to see what else I could find along the lines of a better explanation of how the Free Application for Federal Student Aid works. Who knew that searching “Understanding FAFSA” could lead me right where I need to go?

The first step they talk about is ensuring that you meet the deadline. Unfortunately, some schools word their deadlines for FAFSA different to the actual FAFSA due date.

Pay close attention to how colleges word their deadline instructions. Some refer to the date by which your FAFSA must be submitted – the Transaction Receipt Date – while others refer to the date your completed aid application must be sent by the federal processor to a college’s financial aid office.

It goes on to explain that just about every student that applies Will Be Eligible for FAFSA. Here, let me say that again: It is worth applying! Every Student Will Be Eligible for FAFSA. However, the amount that you will be eligible is determined on a case-by-case basis. These are the requirements they want you to meet:

  • are a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national, or an eligible non-citizen;
  • have a valid Social Security Number;
  • have a high school diploma or GED;
  • are registered with the U.S. Selective Service (if you are a male ages 18 to 25);
  • complete a FAFSA promising to use any federal aid for educational purposes;
  • do not owe refunds on any federal student grants;
  • are not in default on any student loans; and
  • have not been found guilty of the sale or possession of illegal drugs during a period when you received federal student aid.

The Next Steps can be found at this address:
http://www.fafsa.com/understanding-fafsa/fafsa-completion-next-steps
It explains What you do after you have applied, that there will be an email that comes to you, that once it is processed the Department of FAFSA will send it to the school(s) your are applying to, and they will determine the amount they feel you should receive out of the amount FAFSA has decided you are eligible for.

For example – I am eligible for a Pell Grant of $1,595, decided by FAFSA. However, the school might analyze my situation and decide that I only need $1,200 (I really hope that’s not the case, I’m still waiting to see what they deem me worthy of having!)

  1. Within 7-10 days, you and the financial aid offices of up to ten schools listed on your FAFSA will receive a copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR) that specifies your Expected Family Contribution. The SAR is your record that your FAFSA was processed.
  2. School financial aid administrators use your SAR and other information you have provided to them to prepare a financial aid award package for you. Depending on the types and amount of financial aid for which you are eligible, your financial aid package may include a mixture of grants, scholarships, work-study programs, college-sponsored aid, and/or loans, and will be communicated to you in the form of a Financial Aid Award Notice.

Here are some additional links to help with any further questions that might arise:
http://collegesavings.about.com/od/applyingforfinancialaid/a/efcguide.htm
http://www.studentaid.com/Paying/How-Aid-Works/FAFSA
http://www.understandingfafsa.org/
http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/nerdscholar/2013/understanding-fafsa-pin/

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