Financial Aid Tip of the Month, January 2013
Time for college-bound seniors to fill out the FAFSA
High school seniors planning to attend college or technical school this fall should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also called the FAFSA, as soon as possible, according to the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA).
The information on the FAFSA determines if students qualify for federal and state grants and for federal student loans. Also, many colleges use the information to award grants and scholarships administered by the school. Therefore, students should submit the FAFSA even if they feel it is unlikely they will qualify for aid.
The FAFSA asks for information about income, assets and expenses. A formula set by Congress determines eligibility for federal and state aid. If the student is considered a dependent under federal guidelines, both the student and parents must provide financial information. Nearly all students going directly to college from high school are considered dependent.
Some student aid programs have limited money and provide funds on a first-come, first-served basis to qualified students, so it is important to submit the FAFSA as soon as possible.
For faster results, KHEAA recommends that students submit the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.gov, although they may also be mailed to the FAFSA processor.
To find links to other useful education websites, go to www.gotocollege.ky.gov. For more information about Kentucky scholarships and grants, visit www.kheaa.com; write KHEAA, P.O. Box 798, Frankfort, KY 40602; or call 800-928-8926, ext. 6-7372.
Financial aid terms
The following are some key financial aid terms:
Aid package ― A combination of aid (possibly including a scholarship, grant, loan or work) determined by a college financial aid office.
Expected Family Contribution (EFC) ― The amount you and your family are expected to contribute toward your education. It is used in determining eligibility for federal student aid.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) ― The application required for students to be considered for federal student financial aid. Obtain a FAFSA form or electronic filing information from a high school or college for the appropriate school year. The FAFSA is processed free of charge and used by most state agencies and colleges.
Grants ― Awards, usually based on financial need, which do not require repayment. Grants are available through the federal government, state agencies and educational institutions.
Scholarships ― Awards to students based on merit or merit plus need that do not have to be repaid.
Student Aid Report (SAR) ― A report that summarizes all the information you provided on your FAFSA. Your SAR will usually contain your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), the number used in determining your eligibility for federal student aid. You will receive your SAR by e-mail within 3–5 days after your FAFSA has been processed, if you provided an e-mail address when you applied. This e-mail will contain a secure link so you can access your SAR online.
You will receive a paper SAR by mail within 7–10 days after your FAFSA has been processed, if you do not provide an e-mail address when you apply. Whether you apply online or by paper, we will automatically send your data electronically to the schools you listed on your FAFSA.