Student Financial Aid

Applying for Student Financial Aid
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step in the financial aid process. It is used to apply for federal student financial aid, such as loans, grants, and work study programs. Most states and schools use information from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to award non federal aid. For example; if you’re looking to pursue a respiratory therapist degree, you will see that even for those type of degrees, all of the schools have the same requirements to apply for financial aid.

Apply as early as possible
Deadlines for aid from your school, from your state, and from private sources are usually much earlier than deadlines for federal aid. To make sure that any financial aid package your school offers you will contain aid from as many sources as possible, apply as soon as you can after January 1, 2005. Applying early will also give you time to make any needed corrections prior to the deadline. The U.S. Department of Education will process your 2005-2006 Free Application for Federal Student Aid if received on or before June 30, 2006. To actually receive aid, your school must have your correct, complete information before your last day of enrollment in the 2005-2006 school year.

Complete your tax return
You do not need to submit your tax return to the IRS before you submit your FAFSA, however filling out your tax return first will make completing the FAFSA much easier. Once you, or your parents if you are a dependent student, file your tax return, you must correct any tax information or income that changed since you filed the FAFSA. Inaccurate information on your FAFSA will delay the receipt of your federal student aid. You will also be required to return federal aid you improperly receive based upon incorrect information.

Additional Forms
Many schools and states rely solely upon the FAFSA information. Some schools or states may require you to fill out additional forms. These additional forms may have deadlines that are earlier than the federal student aid deadline, so be sure to check with the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend.

Electronic Filing
The FAFSA is available over the Internet. This is the fastest way to apply for financial aid. Your information is edited before you submit it. So if you made any errors or left out any information, we can call this will be called to your attention before you submit your information. This reduces the chances that your data will be rejected due to incorrect information, delaying the process, and makes it less likely that you will have to correct your information later.

How much aid will I get?
Your answers to the FAFSA questions are enter into a formula from the Higher Education Act of 1965. The result is called your EFC, or Expected Family Contribution. The EFC measures your family’s financial strength. It is used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid. You are sent a Student Aid Report (or SAR) through the mail or the Internet. The Student Aid Report lists the information you reported on your FAFSA, and will tell you your EFC. The schools use your EFC to prepare a financial aid package to help you meet your financial need. Your financial need is the difference between your EFC and your school’s cost of attendance (often including living expenses), as determined by the school. Financial aid that you are eligible to receive will be paid to you through your school. Usually, your school will first use the aid to pay tuition, fees, and room and board (if provided by the school). Any remaining aid is paid to you for your other expenses.