Apply for aid overview

Once you've decided to apply for financial aid, the application process is easy. Just follow our simple guidelines.

Complete Your FAFSA

Your very first step toward securing financial aid starts with your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that should be completed. This is the only application form you must file with the federal government to apply for federal and state student grants, loans and work-study.

Actually, in order to apply for financial aid you don’t have to wait to get accepted at the college of your choice. Just contact the school's Financial Aid Office for forms and all deadlines for submitting federal and state applications. You can use this page http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/FOTWWebApp/FSLookupServlet to find your Federal School Code.

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You have to make sure to file your FAFSA form as soon as possible after January 1, of each year. Much of the information on the FAFSA is the same as what is required on your income tax returns.

Submit Your FAFSA

You may obtain a paper copy of the FAFSA at your high school guidance office, public library, or by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID (433-3243). You can also complete, submit and track your application online at FAFSA on the Web (www.fafsa.ed.gov). We recommend you to complete the online version, this way your processing time may be reduced by one to two weeks and the chance of making an error is also reduced, as the information is screened before processing.

Your FAFSA deadlines for 2007-2008 school year.

FAFSA on the Web and Renewal FAFSA on the Web applications must be submitted by midnight Central Daylight time, June 30, 2008.

Corrections on the Web forms must be submitted by midnight Central Daylight time, September 15, 2008.

Note: Your college must have your complete and correct information by your last day of enrollment in the 2007-2008 school year.

Receive Your Student Aid Report (SAR)

Your Student Aid Report (SAR) usually arrives four to six weeks after submitting your FAFSA. This report contains the information you provided on your FAFSA, and it is important to review the document for accuracy. If you find an error, follow the directions for making corrections and submit them as soon as possible. (Be sure to keep a copy for your records.) Your SAR will provide you with details on your federal and state aid eligibility and give you your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). This is the amount your family is expected to contribute toward your college costs.

Your SAR will be provided to the colleges you listed on your FAFSA. The school Financial Aid Offices will use the information contained in the SAR to determine your total aid package, including loan eligibility and federal work-study qualification.

Compare Financial Aid Award Letters

Different schools have different ways of assessing need and awarding aid. You will receive a financial aid Award Letter outlining the aid for which you are eligible from each school where you are accepted. As you compare the financial aid packages offered, you may realize you still need additional funding to meet your college expenses.

Explore Your Options

If your total needs are not met by scholarships, grants and work-study programs, there are various loan programs to consider to help cover the cost of your education, including Federal Stafford, Perkins, PLUS Loans, and alternative loans. It is recommended that you speak to the Financial Aid Officer at the school of your choice to determine the best loan options to meet your specific needs. They can help direct you to preferred reputable loan providers.

Attention: Before you start with your application see http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/hera.htm , where changes that can affect your student aid are listed. These changes are the result of a new federal law that went into effect on July 1, 2006; See the FAFSA website to see if any changes may affect your student aid.

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