If you are one of the millions of students planning to attend college or one of the millions of parents of students who plan to attend college, you are probably wondering how you are going to manage to pay for at least four years of school. Undergraduate schools can cost a few hundred thousand dollars to earn a degree from over four years and graduate schools can cost even more. Financial aid is used by more than ninety-nine percent of students who attend college every year.
The process to obtain financial aid will likely seem overwhelming to new students and parents who are going through this process for the first time. This article will help you understand what you have to do to receive financial aid packages and awards from schools and what it means to receive financial aids.
The application for financial aid is filled out on FAFSA.gov and needs to be done online. If you would like, you can pay a financial aid counselor or college counselor to go through this process with you and make it easier but that is not necessary in most cases. The first thing you do when filling out your FAFSA is select all of the schools that you have applied to.
Your FAFSA is automatically sent to each and every school you applied to and each institution that you are accepted into will send you a financial aid award package. Although most packages will be similar, some may be significantly better or worse than other because of different factors. These factors are the cost of attending each individual college or university, the amount of federal or state funding the school receives how much money the school has to give out, and the different types of aid and scholarships offered by each individual college or university.
After the initial general and basic questions, the FAFSA will become more difficult to fill out. It may even get too stressful and cause you to limit the amount of time you spend on it a day and fill it out over the course of a few days. You need several different documents that you may not have available to you at the very moment, so you should find out what documents you need to fill out the FAFSA and locate them before you start to fill out the form. If you have an accountant or any kind of money manager, they will likely have the documents you need to fill out the FAFSA.
The FAFSA requests the students W-2 form and the legal parents or guardians W-2 forms. It will also need copies of the current years and previous year’s tax returns. The FAFSA relies on the financials of the parents for dependent students. This means that the parents will have to report all annual income for not only their jobs but also whatever investments they may have. Property values and even bank statements are required to complete the form. Once completed, all you have to do is sit back and wait to find out how much money you have been awarded by each institution that has accepted you in their program.