Financial Aid 101 -- Understanding the Financial Package


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College Parents of America brings to you tips & advice on how to understand your student's College Financial Aid Package.

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Financial Aid 101 -- Understanding the Financial Package

  1. 1. Financial Aid 101- Understanding your Student’s College Financial Aid Package Don’t go to College without us….
  2. 2. How do I pay for college? •$16,141 average, in state, 4-year public universities •$28,130 average, out of state, 4-year public universities •$36,993 average, 4-year private universities EVERY YEAR!! Source: The College Board, Annual Survey of Colleges, 2010
  3. 3. Financial Aid 101 – Getting Started Understanding Your Student’s College Financial Aid Package • Everyone agrees that college is expensive these days, and most of us need financial help to be able to afford it. • The financial aid letter which your student receives from his college may include several different types of aid. Although understanding the finer points of these different types of aid and loans may at times seem like a full time job, it is important to have a general understanding of the different types of help your student’s school may offer.
  4. 4. Financial Aid 101 – Getting Started How do schools determine aid? • Most schools use the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form to determine your financial need. • The FAFSA is filled out and filed with the federal government and the information Be sure to check is sent to the schools that you request. with your student’s school • The FAFSA is available in January of each year for all required and can be completed on-line. forms. The federal government is working to make the FAFSA a bit simpler each year. • Most schools also require students to complete additional financial information for the school’s financial aid office. Schools will also ask you to report any outside scholarships which your student is receiving as that will be a factor in determining the aid package.
  5. 5. Financial Aid 101 – Types of Financial Aid Very generally, there are two categories of financial aid – Need based aid and non-need based aid or merit aid. More specifically, there are several different types of aid which might appear in your student’s financial aid letter. It is important to recognize that they are very different. Scholarship & Grants • Scholarship & grants are often based on merit or given to particular categories of students. • They are a type of gift aid and do not need to be repaid. Federal Work Study • Federal work-study is money that your student may earn from a campus job. (Not all campus jobs are work-study jobs) • Federal Work Study funds are given by the government to the college to disburse. Loans • Loans will need to be repaid with interest. Loans may be in your name or in your student’s name, and are called self-help assistance since you are responsible for repaying them later.
  6. 6. Financial Aid 101 – 3 Steps to Follow Understanding your student’s financial aid package takes effort, but is extremely important. Take time to do your research and don’t hesitate to contact the school’s financial aid office for help in understanding the many types of aid. Create a Saving College Apply for Financial Plan Approaches Aid • Start saving as • Determine how • Apply for early as possible much aid your Financial Aid child will need every year • Figure out the and how much cost of your family will • Apply by attendance be expected to submitting contribute the Free • Maximize your Application for • Determine how eligibility for Federal Student much you need financial aid Aid (FAFSA) to save on a regular basis to • Encourage your reach your child to search • The Education savings goals. for Scholarships Tax Credits can • Private help you defray Loans can college costs • Consider 529 provide Saving Plans additional money
  7. 7. You have questions, we have answers! College Parents of America and get more tips and advice on: How and why to help your student create a budget; What’s the latest change on FAFSA; What is federal work study; and Much More… For more information, please contact us the following ways: 888-761-6702