Paying for college:
How can I save for college?
Start saving early by opening a 529 College Savings
account or putting money into an Education IRA. Talk to your financial advisor for guidance.
How can I reduce college costs?
Here are three things you can do:
- Take dual-credit courses in high school to earn college credits at a reduced cost.
- Live at home while attending college. This will save you about $10,000 each year (depending on
- Attend a less expensive community college to earn an associate degree, or take classes in the
academic transfer program before transferring to a four-year college.
What tax breaks are there for paying for higher education?
Go to irs.gov to learn about the American
Opportunity Credit, the Lifetime Learning Credit, Tuition and Fees deduction, and Student Loan Interest Deduction.
Types of Aid and Eligibility:
What is Financial Aid?
Financial aid is money awarded to students to help pay for college. You apply for aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and scholarship applications. There are four types of financial aid:
- Grants are awarded based on financial need and are not repaid.
- Scholarships are awarded based on merit, financial need, and activities, and are not repaid.
- Work-Study is a job on campus to help with expenses. This type of aid is awarded based onfinancial need.
- Loans are available regardless of financial need, but must be repaid after you’re done withcollege.
Where do I look for scholarships?
Here are some scholarship resources:
- ScholarshipQuest from EducationQuest
- High school counselor
- Colleges you’re applying to
- Your/your parents’ employer
- FREE national scholarship search sites
What is the FAFSA?
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is your application for federal, state, and college-based financial aid.
What is the maximum income I can earn and still qualify for financial aid?
There is no limit on what you can earn to qualify for student loans, but grants, work-study, and some scholarships are based on financial need. Your FAFSA results will help your college determine if you qualify for those programs.
Who qualifies to complete the FAFSA?
You must be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen, and be enrolled in an eligible degree or certificate program.
Am I required to file the FAFSA for college?
Completing the FAFSA is not a requirement unless you wish to be considered for any type of federal aid (grants, work-study, student or parent loans). Your college may require the FAFSA to award institutional aid.
Do I need to apply for federal financial aid each year?
Yes, you will need to reapply each year you attend college.
Do families with multiple college students need to complete a FAFSA for each child?
Yes, a FAFSA is required for each student attending college.
What is the deadline for filing the FAFSA?
Each college has a FAFSA priority date to get the best financial aid package, but the true deadline is June 30 of the year you need the aid.
Preparing for the FAFSA:
How do I apply for federal financial aid?
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is your application for federal, state, and college-based financial aid. Apply each year after October 1 at StudentAid.gov.
Are DACA students eligible for federal financial aid?
No, but check with your college to see if you should complete the FAFSA for college-based aid.
Should I apply for federal financial aid if I “know” I won’t qualify?
Even if you don’t qualify for grants and work-study, you must complete the FAFSA to apply for federal student and/or parent loans, which are available regardless of need. Also, many colleges use the FAFSA to award institutional aid.
Do I need to be accepted to a college before I can complete the FAFSA?
No, you can apply for federal financial aid any time after October 1. Colleges will not package an award offer for you until you have been admitted, but you can receive award letters from multiple schools and compare them for the best financial fit.
What is a Student Aid Account (FSA ID)?
It is a username and password required to electronically sign and submit the FAFSA. Create a Student Aid Account prior to completing the FAFSA.
Do my parents need a Student Aid Account (FSA ID)?
Yes, at least one custodial parent is required to have an account so that they can electronically sign your FAFSA.
Will my parents use the same Student Aid Account (FSA ID) for me and my siblings who are also in college?
Yes. A parent will use the same Student Aid Account for each child’s form.
What if I can’t remember my Student Aid Account (FSA ID) username and password?
You can reset them at StudentAid.gov.
Do I need to include my parent(s) info on my FAFSA?
The FAFSA asks a series of questions to determine your dependency status. If you are dependent, you must include parent information.
Which parent(s) do I include on my FAFSA?
If you are a dependent student, include the parent(s) indicated below depending on their marital status.
- Married – both parents
- Divorced or separated –custodial parent where the student lives the most
- Divorced with equal custody – parent who provides the most financial support
- Remarried – custodial parent and stepparent
- Unmarried parents living together – both parents
If my parents refuse to provide their information for the FAFSA, can I still get federal financial aid?
Yes, however, you will only be eligible for the unsubsidized Direct Loan, which means all interest is paid by you, (the borrower) and accrues while you are in school. Make sure your parents understand that providing their information on the FAFSA in no way obligates them to pay for your schooling – it only determines how much you are eligible to receive.
What if my parents or I did not file an income tax return?
When you complete your FAFSA, select the “I’m not going to file” option and the form will skip the federal income tax information. Note: colleges may ask if other untaxed income was received.
My dad recently lost his job, but the FAFSA asks for income from two years ago. What should we do?
Report your parents’ income as required on the FAFSA, then contact the financial aid office at your college to explain the change in income. Ask if they can amend the FAFSA and adjust your financial aid award.
What assets must be included on the FAFSA?
What if our family has circumstances not addressed on the FAFSA?
Contact the college financial aid office if your family has any extenuating situations such as: loss of employment/income, death in the family, or medical expenses not covered by insurance.
After you complete the FAFSA:
What happens after I submit the FAFSA?
Within 3-5 days after you submit your FAFSA, expect a Student Aid Report (SAR) via email from Federal Student Aid. It tells you that your FAFSA was processed, if further action is required, and if you’re selected for verification.
What is verification?
Verification is when the college asks you to verify certain information on your FAFSA. It DOES NOT mean you did anything wrong! Provide the requested information as soon as possible or it will delay processing your aid.
How can I add colleges or make a correction to my FAFSA?
If the information on your FAFSA was incorrect on the day you submitted it – or you need to add a school(s), click here.
How will I know how much financial aid I can expect?
After applying for admission, you will create a student account/portal with each college. This is where the college will post your financial aid award or other important communication. It’s important to check this regularly.
I did not receive enough financial aid to pay for college, what are my options?
You have several options in this situation.
- Consider a less expensive college.
- Live at home to save room and board charges.
- Continue to apply for scholarships.
- Ask your college about a payment plan.
- Consider private loans.
- Parents of dependent students could borrow a Parent PLUS loan.
Federal loan information:
How much can my family borrow in education loans?
This depends on your grade level, enrollment status, and cost of the school. For the most up-to-date federal loan information, refer to our loan chart.
What is the difference between federal loans and private/alternative loans?
Federal loans have benefits such as fixed interest rates, deferments, forbearance, income-based repayment options, and loan forgiveness.
Private loans tend to have variable interest rates, and some require a co-signer.