FINANCIAL AID: The Essentials and then some…. Financial Aid Financial Aid = Assistance for students to fund their education in the form of: Grants – money that does not have to be repaid Scholarships – money that does not have to be repaid Loans – money that does need to be repaid Employment – on or off campus job Before you begin…. Don’t assume that more expensive schools will necessarily cost you more! Financial aid may allow you to afford a school you previously did not consider Involve your child in the process Discuss your ability to pay for college with your child before the admission deposit deadline Look at this as a long term investment and not just a one year expense Merit-Based Aid vs. Need-Based Aid Merit-Based Aid = aid given to students strictly on the basis of merit. Does not have to be repaid, usually renewable from year to year. May be based on: Academic record Special characteristics Skills or talents Involvement in school or community Need-Based Aid = aid awarded to students on the basis of financial need. Re-evaluated each year as financial situations of a family may change. Filing for Aid Some forms you may be asked to complete: Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Institutional Application for Aid U.S. or Puerto Rico Tax Return & W-2’s College Board PROFILE* Non-custodial parent information Business or Farm Supplement Other forms as required by the school (For certain PROFILE schools you may be requested to submit tax or other institutional forms through IDOC) What Is The FAFSA? Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Application for federal and state aid (may be application for college aid as well, depending upon the school) File one FAFSA per year per student (not one per college) List up to six colleges Title IV Code or school name; schools receive info. electronically Need to file a FAFSA each year you want to receive aid Whose Information is on the FAFSA? Dependent: parental & student financial data required Independent: student & spouse financial data required Conditions to determine independency Student must meet one of following criteria: 24 years of age Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces Enrolled in a graduate or professional program Married Orphan or ward of the court until age 18 Have legal dependents that student provides at least 50% support for At age 13 or older were both parents deceased, was the student in foster care or a dependent/ward of the court Emancipated Minor as determined by a court Determination that student was homeless by a recognized authority Whose Information is on the FAFSA? If the parents are divorced or separated…. When filing FAFSA, financial information of parent that student resides with for more than half of the year should be provided (if equal time, information of the parent that provides the most financial support) If the custodial parent is remarried… The financial data of new spouse must be included on the FAFSA How/When to File the FAFSA? How To Complete the FAFSA: On-line at www.fafsa.ed.gov Complete as soon as possible after January 1, or file electronically at www.fafsa.ed.gov beginning January 1 prior to the fall for which student seeks aid USE THE “FAFSA ON THE WEB WORKSHEET” to assist in the completion of the on-line FAFSA FAFSA is free – do not use any site that charges a fee to complete the FAFSA FAFSA On The Web If filing over the Internet, 2 choices: Parent and student mail signature page in or The Parent and Student both need to apply for PIN # at www.pin.ed.gov PIN serves as e-signature PIN will be mailed or e-mailed to person who requested the PIN Use PIN to submit information and make corrections over Internet at www.pin.ed.gov Can request a PIN at any time – SUGGEST YOU DO SO NOW! If you have a PIN from before you may use that PIN Filing The FAFSA Do not wait to be accepted to the school to complete the FAFSA Based on prior calendar year tax information May use estimated income and taxes PA residents will use the FAFSA for state grant consideration; state will follow up with an additional form once FAFSA is complete MAKE COPIES OR PRINT OUTS OF EVERY FORM! Financial Need Cost of Attendance -Expected Family Contribution (EFC) Financial Need Financial Need Cost of Attendance includes: Tuition & Fees Room & board Books & supplies Personal expenses Transportation allowance What Is The EFC? Basis of financial aid package EFC is determined by a federal formula that calculates need via the FAFSA EFC & Financial Need are guidelines used by schools to determine aid package EFC not necessarily = to out-of-pocket cost of family How Is The EFC Calculated? Primary Factors Looked At: Taxable Income: AGI (wages earned+interest dividends+other taxable income) Untaxed income & benefits Number in family Number of dependent children in college Assets (FAFSA does not ask for home value or value of retirement funds but school or PROFILE may ask for this information) Learn more about how the EFC is calculated Utilize a Financial Aid Calculator to familiarize yourself with more details and to get an early estimate of your EFC • Go to www.collegeboard.com and click on tab “For Parents” and select Financial Aid Calculator from the options on the left, then select EFC Calculator and insert your personal information or • Go to www.finaid.org and click on Calculators and select Needs Analysis Institutional Methodology Some schools may require CSS Profile Form Primarily private schools Collects supplemental data (i.e.-home equity, financial data of non-custodial parent, value of retirement plans, etc.) Calculates IM (Institutional Methodology) Basis for awarding institutional need-based aid only Register to complete form at www.collegeboard.com Fee $25 for application and 1st school report; $16 for each additional school Help! Sources of Aid Federal State The College/University Outside Organizations Civic organizations (ex.-local Rotary Club), parent’s employer, high school Federal Aid Must: Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen Have HS diploma or equivalent Be matriculating in a degree/certificate program at accredited Title IV school Be registered with Selective Service if a male between ages of 18 and 25 Free of drug possession or sale conviction Federal Aid Pell Grant (need-based): $5,310 max/year for 2009-2010 year Pell Grant recipients might also be eligible for: Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) $750 1st year; $1,300 2nd year for students who took rigorous HS curriculum National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (SMART) $4,000 for 3rd and 4th year students in physical, life or computer sciences, math, technology, engineering or critical foreign languages Federal Campus-Based Aid SEOG Grant-exceptional need - $100 - $4,000/year (typically have to receive Pell) Perkins Loan-exceptional need - $100 - 5,500/year; 5% interest rate Federal Work Study Colleges have set allocations for campus based funds (student may receive award from one school & not another!) Federal Stafford Loan In student’s name/no credit check Available to all students, regardless of need Repayment begins 6 months following graduation or withdrawal Competitive interest rate 5.6% effective July 1, 2009 for subsidized; 6.8% for unsubsidized Interest rate reset each July 1st Amount varies by class $3,500 for freshman; $4,500 for second year students $5,500 for third year and beyond (undergrads) Additional $2,000 unsubsidized in addition to the above amount is effective May, 2008 Federal PLUS Loan Loan in parent’s name 8.5% Interest Rate Repayment begins 60 days after 2nd disbursement; deferments are now available Credit check involved Borrow up to cost of attendance minus other financial aid student is receiving Add’l. unsub available to students whose parent(s) are denied on PLUS Loan due to poor credit State Pennsylvania State Grant (for PA Residents): $4,700 max/year for 2009-10 for students attending a PA school; however funding may not allow a max grant of $4,700 Eligibility based on need and family’s unique circumstances Max PHEAA Grant that can transfer out-of-state, $600, to: CT, DE, MA, ME, OH, RI, VT, DC, WV $400 maximum transfers to other states, except NJ, MD and NY-- $0 transfers there (some exceptions) Student must file FAFSA by May 1 for upcoming fall term PHEAA sends student status notice beginning mid-May; student must complete and return to PHEAA Check www.pheaa.org for other grant programs College/University Colleges may offer significant amount of funds to assist students Factors that may influence institutional aid, particularly merit-based aid: Academics Athletic Ability* SAT’s Geographic Diversity AP Courses Legacy (child of alumni Activities Academic Track Talent H.S. Attended Class Rank *Athletic awards only offered by NCAA Division I and Division II schools only. College/University Investigate Sources of Aid Determine deadlines and criteria for eligibility for each school College may be the largest funding source Complete college/university application for aid Private schools may require CSS PROFILE Outside Sources Private sources of scholarship funds include: Service/Fraternal Organizations Employers/Business Churches/Religious Groups Sources of Information Internet: www.pasfaa.org; www.nasfaa.org; www.finaid.org Books: Peterson’s Guide, Barron’s Guide to Colleges, “Don’t Miss Out” (Octameron Assoc.) Guidance Office Computer Programs Comparing Aid Offers School A School B School C School D COST $8500 $18000 $23000 $45000 - EFC $2000 $2000 $2000 $2000 NEED $6500 $16000 $21000 $43000 PELL Grant $2360 $2360 $2360 $2360 SEOG Grant $0 $0 $2000 $3000 PA State Grant $1900 $4000 $4700 $4700 Perkins Loan $0 $2000 $2000 $3000 Work Study $0 $1000 $1500 $2500 Stafford Loan - $2240 $3500 $3500 $3500 Subsidized Institutional Grant $0 $0 $4500 $20000 Unmet Need $0 $3140 $440 $3940 Comparing Aid Offers School A School B School C School D COST $8500 $18000 $23000 $45000 - EFC $12000 $12000 $12000 $12000 NEED $0 $6000 $11000 $33000 PELL Grant $0 $0 $0 $0 SEOG Grant $0 $0 $0 $0 PA State Grant $0 $600 $1100 $1400 Perkins Loan $0 $0 $2000 $2000 Work Study $0 $0 $1500 $2500 Stafford Loan - $0 $3500 $3500 $3500 Subsidized Institutional Grant $0 $1900 $2000 $21000 Unmet Need $0 $0 $900 $2600 Comparing Aid Offers Will the aid package change if outside scholarships are received? What factors can cause changes to my eligibility in the future? (i.e.- how will my package change if there is a change in the number in college, what if my income increases) Is there room for movement in my financial aid award? Can I appeal the award? Comparing Aid Offers Look at the Bottom line for each school carefully comparing grants, loans and work opportunities as well as merit versus need based programs Consider possible changes in your family situation over the next four years & consider how that can affect your ability to pay not only in the next four years but over the years all your children are in college Don’t Forget! Research Outside Scholarships Complete the FAFSA form as soon as possible after January 1 of senior year Remember to keep copies of every financial aid form that you complete! Check with each college/university to see what additional forms they require Don’t be afraid to call the financial aid office at the school(s) you are interested in! GOOD LUCK!
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