Pursuing Financial Aid
It's important for you to understand some truths. First, college is not affordable for almost all students without financial aid. Secondly, the actual cost for you, or for you and your family, is determined by formula when you submit a document called the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The application is indeed free to submit, but the aid that it can grant you has a long-lasting impact. Finally, you need a workshop in personal finance to understand financial aid, loans, scholarships, work-study, grants, and the requirements of each.
Focus on the FAFSA. Create an account on the FAFSA website by late October and aim to submit your FAFSA by late December of your senior year. Incredibly within 3 to 5 days, you will receive a SAR (Student Aid Report) indicating your level of financial aid that should be recognized by all the colleges to which you apply. Those schools which accept you will follow the acceptance with a financial aid offer in which they split the aid into scholarships, loans, and work-study. Now you will need a mentor, advisor, or advocate to help you sort through the costs of sustaining your life as you attend college.
The FAFSA document is only for US citizens or an eligible noncitizen. If you are undocumented or a Dream Act student, you will need another document. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Unaccompanied youth do not need to report their parents' financial and other information on the FAFSA. But unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness need special determinations and documents to receive financial aid. Email email@example.com. All students should attend a FAFSA workshop either at their high school or in their community.
AT A GLANCE
The process for receiving financial aid:
Independent Student Status
Federal Student Aid Report
College Award Letter
Using Grants for College Costs
Using Loans for College Costs
This is the timetable you will use to gain funding for your college costs
Attend a FAFSA Workshop
Create a sample FAFSA
Collect necessary documnents
File completed FAFSA by Dec 31.
Complete all college applications for special status.
Use the SAR to work with special action acceptances for financial aid rewards.
Complete all regular decision college applications.
Use the SAR to work with regular decision acceptances for financial aid rewards.
The final day to submit the FAFSA for the following school year is June 30.