Financial Aid Basics
- How can I pay for college?
When it comes to paying for school, you need to know your options. Don't make decisions without knowing how the process works! Otherwise, you may miss out on some help that could make your life a lot easier! There are many ways to pay for your college costs. Costs can include both direct costs and indirect costs, such as: Tuition Enrollment fees Books Housing Transportation Personal expenses Costs can also include expenses related to childcare or a disability. Get a clear sense of your anticipated costs, and then formulate a plan for paying for them. Put together a budget and explore all of the options available to you. You can pay for your college costs using your savings, help from family, earnings from working a full or part-time job, scholarships, or financial aid programs. There are also loan programs to consider, but these need to be repaid, so be prudent and borrow only what you need.
- What is financial aid?
Financial aid is money set aside by the federal government, state, and some colleges and universities to help people pay for a college education. Financial aid can come in the form of a grant, a work-study job, or a loan. In order to have access to financial aid, you need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA. The FAFSA can be found online at www.fafsa.gov
- Will financial aid pay for all of my expenses?
Financial aid is intended to bridge the gap between what you and your family can afford to pay for college and the cost of college. If you qualify for financial aid, it may come in the form of grants, possibly a work-study job, and loans. Except in cases of exceptional need, it typically covers only a portion of the cost of college expenses.
- What is the difference between a grant and a loan?
A grant does not have to be paid back. It is the best type of aid you can receive. A loan, on the other hand, must be re-paid with interest over a period of years. Loans should be considered only after exhausting other options – and borrow only what you need. It is also important to remember that while grants are a great form of financial assistance, they do require you to fulfill certain responsibilities - such as staying in school and getting good grades. You may need to repay a grant if you reduce enrollment or withdraw from all courses during the semester after receiving a grant disbursement.
- Can financial aid help me with out-of-state tuition costs?
Depending on your financial situation, you may be eligible to receive federal financial aid in the form of grants and loans to cover the costs associated with attending college. If you choose to attend a college located outside of your home state, you may incur higher costs of tuition, as many states charge higher rates to out of state residents. While financial aid may help off-set these higher costs, you are likely to still have to cover much of the additional cost - if there is any - of being a resident of another state.
- Can I receive financial aid at more than one college?
If you are attending more than one college at the same time, you may only receive federal financial aid at one of the colleges. If you are moving from one school to another, it is important to be aware of any loan period overlap which may prevent you from taking out further loans until the end of your current loan period. If you transfer from one college to another during the year, you may be eligible for financial aid at both colleges, as long as you apply for financial aid at each college separately. It is best to contact the financial aid office regarding your specific situation.
- What does SAP stand for?
SAP stands for Satisfactory Academic Progress. Federal regulations require that a student has met - and continues to meet - some basic academic progress standards before he or she can receive federal financial aid. Each school sets its own SAP policy, and students must meet the requirements of the SAP policy of the school he or she is enrolled in to be eligible for federal financial aid. Every school’s SAP standards include 3 components: 1 - a qualitative measurement component such as a grade point average (GPA), 2 - a quantitative measurement component referred to as the student’s pace, and 3 - a maximum timeframe of program completion. For students not meeting SAP requirements, the school’s SAP policy explains warning and probationary periods, as well as appeal and approval processes. Please make sure to review the school’s SAP policy to understand your responsibilities as a student receiving federal financial aid.