Howdy, everyone! Let's cut to the chase, shall we? Many young people want to pursue higher education but they don't know if such a goal is within their grasp. We understand. College is an expensive investment...Probably one of the most expensive you will ever be responsible for, if you factor in all four years. BUT it is not impossible.
There are lots of things you can do to better prepare yourself to bear the burden of college costs. One of the most important is applying for financial aid. You don't need to go it alone in paying for your education. Loans, grants and scholarships can help pay for schooling along the way. Let's discuss the most important application you will ever complete in your life (well perhaps that's subjective, but it IS important)...The FAFSA (dun, dun, dun).
We at Go Financial Aid like to refer to this form as the "gateway" to college money. It really is. Think about it: you can't cross a river without going over a bridge first. The FAFSA is the bridge to financial aid for college, and you are not getting any federal aid until the application is completed! Yes, applying for financial aid means filing the FAFSA, which is required to be eligible for and to receive federal loans and grants. It is available in paper form or online at fafsa.ed.gov, and requires some pretty personal info. You will need your: social security card/number, financial documentation such as tax records for the previous year, etc.
Why so personal? Well, the financial gurus with FAFSA as well as the federal government need to determine your level of financial need. This pretty much means that they have to find out just how much money you need for school, and how well-equipped your family is to cover school costs. This would be your EFC, or Expected Family Contribution, which is subtracted from the Total Cost of Attendance at the school you want to go to, to determine your financial need at that school. Generally lower-income individuals qualify for more financial aid.When you are applying for financial aid, here are a few things you'll have to indicate:
- Annual income (many times this means that of your parents)
- If you are interested in a federal work study program (work at school for college money)
- Anticipated student status (i.e. full- or part-time)
- Marital status
- Financial status (i.e. dependent, independent, emancipated, etc.)
- If you are a military veteran
- Know your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)
Of course this is just a sampling of what is contained in the FAFSA application. It does, however, give a preview of what you are up against. Students can certainly practice the FAFSA prior to submission as well. Just get the paper application and fill in the information so you get used to the application. Remember too that your school may require you to submit applications for financial aid supplements, so prepare for that as well.Going off to college raises many questions about how students will cope financially, but help is out there...Take advantage of it. No one said that applying for financial aid was fun--it's a long process, after all--but is IS worth it! If you get stuck along the way, don't worry. Go Financial Aid is available at your beckon call, eager to assist with any financial aid difficulties you may be facing. Call us today for the solutions you need!