Federal Student Aid is determined by the FAFSA report. To see if your student will qualify for financial aid, have them go through the following list:
- Your student needs to have completed their high school education either with a diploma or GED.
- The student must have been accepted by a college or university to receive aid. (They will apply for the aid before being accepted to a school).
- Male students between 18-25 must register with the Selective Service.
- The student needs a valid Social Security number.
- The student agrees that they are not in default of a Federal Student Loan and agrees to use the federal student aid for educational purposes only.
- The students will maintain satisfactory academic progress.
- The student must be a US citizen, hold a Green Card, have an arrival-departure record, Battered Immigrant Status or a T-Visa.
Once the student confirms all the above, they can fill out the FAFSA report. The FAFSA report factors in real estate, income and other assets and it will determine the family’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
Next take the EFC and subtract the total cost for the school (including fees and room and board). The sum determines your student’s financial need. The aid offered by schools could be in the form of scholarship, Federal Pell Grants, Federal work-study or subsidized direct loans.
Merit-Based Aid differs from financial aid. It is based on your student’s academic achievements and will be offered to the student regardless if they qualify for financial aid.
So how do you determine if you qualify for financial aid? NetPrice Calculators on the financial aid page of every college and university website should help. There you are asked to plug in your student’s EFC number and the Net Price Calculator will calculate your estimated Financial Aid for that specific school.
Many factors apply including owning your home and price of living in your hometown. Financial Aid offices at most colleges and universities can be helpful to parents if you have specific questions.
It’s best to encourage your student to apply to all levels of colleges, private and state. Where one school may give them a full scholarship, the next college may give them nothing. We can’t determine the amount of aid before acceptance, but filling out the FAFSA and using the Net Price calculates are your first steps in understanding if you will qualify at all.