With the costs of completing post secondary education continuously increasing, most students will need to consider seeking scholarships or some other form of financial aid, and choices made on first entering high school can affect a student's likelihood of gaining needed assistance. To have the highest probability for gaining the financial assistance that may be needed, you should:
• Select and pursue a rigorous program of courses that will prepare you well for seeking a degree area of interest to you. Take Pre-AP and AP
• Perform community service.
• Make good grades and maintain good attendance.
• Participate and hold leadership positions in extracurricular, athletic, and volunteer activities.
• Score well on the appropriate college entrance exams.
• And did we mention perform community service?
You should begin thinking about meeting scholarship requirements beginning your freshman year!
Applying for Financial Aid
Applying for financial aid requires some work on your part. You won't get any money unless you ask for it, and asking for the money means completing some forms.
To obtain financial aid, there are three very important things to understand:
1. You only have to complete one form to start the financial aid process.
2. The financial aid office at the college you plan to attend will be in charge of awarding you financial aid.
3. Deadlines matter. The earlier you submit your forms, the more likely you are to get a good financial aid package.
What Is FAFSA?
FAFSA stands for “Free Application for Federal Student Aid.” As the name indicates, the application is free and there is no charge for the processing of your application. No matter how many schools you are applying to, you only need to fill out one FAFSA application. Once your application is processed by the federal processor, you and the schools you have selected will be notified of the results and the school can then start the process of determining the funding for which you are eligible.
Where Can You Find the FAFSA?
Complete the FAFSA application electronically; you can obtain the Web version at FAFSA website. You will need to apply for a PIN number before you can complete the FAFSA application. To apply for a FSA ID number, go to https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out/fsaid#fsaid-intro and request an ID both for yourself and for one of your parents.
When Should You Complete the FAFSA?
The FAFSA should be completed and processed as soon as possible after October 1 for students expecting to enroll in college in the following fall.
How Should You Complete the FAFSA?
To complete the form, you and your parents will need to share information on your financial condition (income, assets, savings, etc.). This is the same information you would be required to share with a bank or other lender when requesting a loan for a new car or home, or that you are required to put on your tax return each year.
Once you have completed the FAFSA, your next step is to contact the financial aid office to determine if there is any other information you need to provide. Some colleges will require that you complete additional forms. Remember, you must have been admitted to the college before you will be considered for financial aid awards, so be certain to send in your application for admission.
*And, remember, financial aid offices are extremely busy places. The sooner you can complete the information required for financial aid, the better chance you will have of receiving aid.*
Federal Student Financial Aid
The following programs are supported by the Federal Government and are available at almost any accredited college or university. THEY ARE CONTROLLED BY THE FINANCIAL AID OFFICER at the college, and you should apply directly to that office. Eligibility for Federal Student Financial Assistance Programs is based on financial need (except for unsubsidized Stafford and PLUS loans).
How to apply:
1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Check the federal, state, and school deadlines! It is advisable to apply as early as possible as some programs have limited funds. Check with the financial aid office to find out these deadlines. The FAFSA is available: online at Link to FAFSA website; in high school guidance office; college financial aid office; local public library; or from the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243.
2. You will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) one to four weeks after you submit your FAFSA. The SAR confirms the information reported on your FAFSA and will tell you your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is an index of need that your financial aid administrator will use to determine the amount of federal student aid for which you qualify.
3. Talk with the financial aid administrator at the school’s which you are interested in attending. They will review your SAR and prepare a letter outlining the amount of aid that their school will offer you.
Your Financial Aid Application
FAFSA or TASFA? Which financial aid application should you use?
**See Mrs. Taylor and she can help you with the application process.
Types of Financial Aid
Federal Pell Grant
Does not have to be repaid. Generally, Pell Grants are awarded only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor’s or professional degree. Amount depends on program funding, currently $4,050.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
An FSEOG is for undergraduates with exceptional financial need. It does not have to be paid back. You can receive between $100 - $4,000 a year.
Federal Work-Study Program (FWS)
The Federal Work-Study program provides jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to your course of study.
Federal Perkins Loan
A Federal Perkins Loan is a low-interest (5%) loan for both undergraduate and graduate students with financial need. Your school is your lender. The loan is made with government funds with a shared contributed by the school. You must repay this loan to your school.
Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) and William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans (Direct Loans)
1. Federal Stafford Loans (subsidized)
2. Federal Stafford Loans (unsubsidized)
3. Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
4. Federal Consolidation Loans
FFEL Loans are insured by a state or private non-profit guaranty agency and reinsured by the Federal Government. These loans are made through private lenders such as banks, credit unions, insurance groups.
Direct Loan funds come from the federal government to your school, which delivers the loan to you.
Texas Financial Aid
The following state-sponsored programs are only available to students attending community colleges, technical colleges and universities in Texas. These programs do not have their own applications. The financial aid officer determines eligibility after reviewing information you provide them on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and/or other documents.
To apply, contact the financial aid office of the college you plan to attend.
Grants provide financial aid that does not have to be repaid. Some grants require the student to graduate on the State Board of Education (Recommended) or Distinguished Achievement Program (DAP) graduation plans. Most grants are awarded on the basis of financial need.
Student must have need and completed at least the recommended plan. Expected Family contribution must be below $4000. Student may receive $865 each Fall and Spring.
Texas Educational Opportunity Grant (Texas Grant II)
Student must have an expected family contribution (EFC) below 2000, enrolled in at least 6 hours, be seeking an associates degree or certificate, and not eligible for the Texas Grant. This fund is renewable. Students could receive $865 each Fall and Spring.
College for Texans
Everything a Texan needs to know about preparing for, applying for and paying for college or technical school.
Scholarships provide financial aid that does not have to be repaid. Some scholarships require the student to maintain a certain grade point average (GPA) or take certain courses. Scholarships for early graduation, nursing or medical programs, and academic merit.
Exemptions are a type of financial assistance allowing some Texas residents to attend a public college or university in Texas without paying tuition, and in some cases, tuition and fees. Programs for students who are adopted and previously in foster care, deaf, blind, valedictorians, and graduate early. Also for children of deceased public servants, veterans, peace officers, POWS, MIAS, and for families receiving TANF.