The following programs are supported by the Federal Government and are available at almost any accredited college or university. These programs are administered by the OFFICE OF FINANCIAL AID at the college, and you should apply directly to that office. Eligibility for most Federal Student Aid Programs is based on financial need.
NOTE: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, updates to federal aid programs may occur throughout the upcoming academic year. It is recommended that students verify information by referencing websites.
There are three types of Federal Financial Aid available - but, you must first apply to be eligible. Begin early by completing the FAFSA form (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) online, as soon as possible after October 1, at:
www.studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa or by contacting your school counselor.
GRANTS are financial aid that students don't have to repay. LOANS are borrowed money that students must repay with interest. WORK-STUDY lets students work and earn money to help pay for school.
Undergraduates may receive all three types of financial aid. Not all schools participate in the Federal Student Aid Programs or take part in all the programs. To find out which programs (if any) are available, contact the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend.
APPLICATION PROCESS Completing your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will generate a Student Aid Report (SAR), which is a result of information provided in your FAFSA application. The U.S. Department of Education will send you your SAR, which you should review carefully to make sure it is correct and complete. Your complete and correct SAR will contain your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) - the number used to determine your federal student aid eligibility. If additional information is requested, be sure to respond by any deadlines or you might not receive federal aid.
You cannot receive Federal Student Aid unless all your information is complete and accurate. Get free help from your high school counselor, the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend, or the U.S. Department of Education at www.studentaid.ed.gov/sa/ or 1-800-433-3243. Free help is available any time during the application process. You should never pay for help.
The fastest way to complete your FAFSA is online. Paper FAFSA forms are available from your local library, high school, college or career school; or by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center at (800)433-3243. It can also be completed online or downloaded at www.studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa. Whether you apply online or by paper, your data will be sent electronically to the schools you listed on your FAFSA.
Contact the financial aid officer at the school you are interested in attending and ask if you also should fill out any state financial aid forms in addition to the FAFSA. They will review your SAR and prepare a letter outlining the amount of aid (from all sources) that their school will be able to offer you.
If you are eligible for federal student financial aid, each school will send you an award letter. The award letter tells you the types of financial aid they will offer and how much you will receive. This combination of aid is your financial aid package.
CHANGES TO YOUR FAMILY'S FINANCIAL SITUATION If your or your family's financial situation has changed significantly from what is reflected on your federal income tax return (for example, if you've lost a job or otherwise experience a drop in income), you may be eligible to have your financial aid adjusted. Compete the FAFSA questions as instructed on the application (including the transfer of tax return and income information), submit your FAFSA form, then contact the school you plan to attend to discuss how your current financial situation has changed. Note that the school's decision is final and cannot be appealed to the U.S. Department of Education. Visit www.StudentAid.gov/coronavirus for complete details.
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) office of Federal Student Aid is actively monitoring the coronavirus/COVID-19 situation. On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the CARES Act info law, which provides broad relief for federal student loan borrowers. As outlined in the CARES Act, both the suspension of loan payments and the temporary 0% interest rate on loans owned by ED are scheduled to expire on September 20, 2020. Congress is currently working on another coronavirus-related stimulus bill, and it is possible that additional provisions regarding student loans could be included in that bill. Until then, the current CARES Act calls for repayment to begin at the end of September. Borrowers can prepare for the current deadline by following the steps outlined on the website: www.studentaid.gov/announcements-events/coronavirus.
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