FAFSA: Apply for Aid Understanding College Financial Aid

Earning a college degree is one of the best investments you can make in your future. College graduates may have many more opportunities available to them and, on average, the earning potential of a college graduate exceeds the earnings potential of without a degree. Think about it from an employers prospective: if you were choosing a job candidate from a stack of 100's of resumes, who would make it to the top of the stack?

It's crucial for you as the student or parent to understand the process of student financial aid to make sure you explore all the options available to you. The options begin with a FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid. All students are expected to contribute towards the cost of their college education. Just how much depends on your financial situation and the financial situation of your family. This is referred to as the Expected Family Contribution or EFC.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is the form that the Department of Education uses to evaluate and determine the EFC (Expected Family Contribution). Therefore, your process for determining how you will fund your (your child's) education starts by filling out a FAFSA. The analysis that is then performed by the Dep't of Education is based upon your assets, income and other household information. You need to only fill out the FAFSA one time and the Department of Education will communicate directly with the College(s) and University(s) of your choice. You can list these on your application so that the application is transmitted directly to these schools. The FAFSA is the standard that nearly all colleges and universities use to determine eligibility for federal, state, and college-sponsored financial aid which includes loans and GRANTS.

Types of Student Financial Aid
The cost of education continues to rise. Therefore, figuring out how you're going to finance your education can see like a tough task. The good news is that nearly every student is eligible for some type of financial aid regardless of your income circumstances. If you qualify, the options available may include:

  • Federal Pell Grants
  • Stafford Loan
  • Parent Plus loan

FAFSA Eligibility
To be eligible for some form of student financial aid, you must:
  • be a U.S. citizen or an eligible Non-U.S. citizen
  • have a valid Social Security number
  • have a high school diploma or a GED
  • be registered with the U.S. Selective Service (if you are a male between the ages of 18-25)
  • complete a FAFSA promising to use any federal aid for educational purposes only
  • not owe refunds on any student loans
  • have not been found guilty of the sale or possession of illegal drugs during a period in which federal aid was being received

Featured Articles

10 Ways to Get Free Food

Everyone loves food, but getting food for free or at a discount makes food even better. Below are ten ways for people anywhere to get free or discounted food without having to do too much work to get it. Free Samples Free samples are everywhere. G...

Read More

Who is Eligible for Financial Aid?

Every situation is different but nearly every student is eligible for some type of financial aid. The options available include Federal Pell Grants, Federal Stafford and/or parent PLUS loans, regardless of income circumstances. Eligibility...

Read More

Free or Low Cost Vehicles for Struggling Families

Vehicles play a key role in the quality of life of individuals. Having a car ensures that an individual has a reliable way to complete daily tasks, get to their job, and run errands. In certain cases, it is possible to obtain ...

Read More

How to Get Low-Income Mental Health Care

At least one study shows that more Americans are living with mental health than you might think. Unfortunately, widespread low income and lack of health insurance often make it difficult to get treatment. As recent rounds of state budg...

Read More