Financial Aid:An OverviewJoe Szejk, Vice President for EnrollmentServices & MarketingCollege of Saint Mary(402) 399-2355 or firstname.lastname@example.org
What is Financial Aid? Resources (other than the family’s personal funds) that are used to pay for education. Financial aid consists of grants (usually based on financial need), scholarships (usually based on academic performance or other merits), loans, and on-campus employment (for example, the Federal Work-Study Program). In some cases, financial aid is on a first-come, first-served basis.
How to Get Financial Aid FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid): This form will be completed no earlier than January 1, 2011. It is required to be completed if you wish to be considered eligible for any federal or state financial aid (including loans). Many colleges require a FAFSA on file to be eligible for some institutional awards. Institutional: Many colleges and universities have scholarships, endowments and grants available to students who plan on attending that institution. Review college web sites and contact college personnel for any pertinent information. Outside Scholarships: These can be obtained by scholarship searches on numerous web sites, including www.finaid.org, www.fastweb.com, http://www.scholarships.com/, etc. Contact local guidance counselor and community organizations (Lion’s Club, Sons of Italy, for example.) for local scholarships. These are often overlooked.
Types of Financial Aid Gift Aid: A short definition, “free money.” This can be a grant, scholarship or endowment that does not require repayment. As such, it can be either merit-based (academic scholarships) or need-based (state grants.) Sources can vary from government to institutions to outside organizations. Self-Help: In most instances, these are student loans. The main federal loan programs are the Stafford Loan and the Perkins Loan. These are need-based and eligibility is determined by your FAFSA results. Work study is also considered financial aid if family need is still not filled after other options.
Affordability Do not allow sticker price to discourage you from considering a college. Total Cost for a private institution does not determine bottom line for most families. Cost is generally determined by: Student Academics Family Need (as determined by FAFSA results) Special Talent or Merit
What is “Family Need?” Family Need is determined by the completion of the FAFSA. (Free Application for Federal Student Aid.) The Department of Education compiles various student and family information and assigns an Estimated Family Contribution (EFC). EFC is generated by looking at student and parent income, assets and household information. Think of it like an index that reveals the family’s ability to access funds to finance the student’s education. EFC is more than just income. Number in household, number in college and age of older parent play large role in determining EFC. Your need is then determined by comparing your EFC against the college costs. Your EFC is the same for every college, but your need is different because no two colleges cost exactly the same.
Two Families: A Case Study Family One Family Two Two Parents, One Child Two Parents, three One in College Children Older Parent is 40 Two in College One wage-earner, making Older Parent is 50 $75k Two wage-earners, making $75k EFC is $13,201 EFC is $4443
Dates to Remember! Financial Aid is often tied to a deadline, be it institutional, state, federal. Institutional monies are most readily available at the beginning of the financial aid season. Most colleges advise to have the FAFSA completed by March 1st to receive priority.
Senior Year TimelineSeptember—November December—March April—May1) College Visits 1) College Visits 1) Review award letters2) Scholarship Search 2) Pin Number 2) Meet with college3) Apply to top schools 3) Complete Taxes to discuss options 4) FAFSA on-line 3) Accept award package 4) Send in deposit
Outside Scholarships Contact local guidance counselor and community organizations (Lion’s Club, Sons of Italy, for example.) for local scholarships. These are often overlooked and you often have a much better chance of winning one of these than a national scholarship. These can be obtained by scholarship searches on numerous web sites, including www.finaid.org, www.fastweb.com, http://www.scholarships.com/, etc. Never pay for a scholarship search. All scholarship searches should be free and accessible through search engines (see above), guidance counselors or prospective colleges. Check with prospective colleges if outside scholarships can be stacked on top of other institutional award monies.
Important Websites Free Application for Federal Student Aid: www.fafsa.ed.gov Pin Number: www.pin.ed.gov Scholarship Search: www.finaid.org, www.fastweb.com, www.scholarships.com EducationQuest: http://www.educationquest.org/
Numbers to Remember CSM Office of Enrollment Services: 402-399-2355 CSM Office of Financial Aid: 402-399-2362 EducationQuest (Omaha): 888-357-6300 US Department of Education: 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433- 3243) The Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education: 402-471-2847 CSM FAFSA Code: 002540
Important Reminders Apply for aid early Keep all financial aid related materials. Don’t be afraid to ask questions Be aware of deadlines.