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Financial Aid FAQs

When and how do I apply for financial aid?

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FAFSA stands for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. You must complete the FAFSA each year in order to be eligible to receive any form of Need Based Aid. Your tax information and PIN will be required when filing the FAFSA.  Create an FSA ID.  Go here.

This is a form provided by the college to inquire about any extenuating circumstances that are not reflected on the FAFSA form. For example, loss of income, private school tuition, or excessive medical bill.  Download Need-Based Appeal Form.

In order to receive any need based aid you MUST complete the FAFSA each year you are enrolled as a student.

Verification is a process where the school requests documentation from the student in order to verify the accuracy of information reported on the FAFSA. The federal government selects approximately one third of all FAFSAs for verification.

A financial aid package is a document that you will receive each year from the financial aid office indicating the total amount of financial aid you have been awarded as well as your direct and indirect costs for the upcoming school year.

If you choose not to file the FAFSA you will not receive any form of Need Based Aid from the college or the government. You will still be eligible for merit awards.

A merit award is any institutional aid that you qualify for based on your demographic information, academic achievement, and leadership ability.

Financial Aid Glossary

A student’s budget that is calculated by combining both the direct and indirect costs of attending college.  A student’s financial aid cannot exceed the Cost of Attendance.

Through a series of questions the FAFSA form will determine whether you are considered independent or dependent student.

Tuition, room and board, and fees.

This is a number generated by the FAFSA. It estimates how much money a family will be able to pay for their student to attend college. This number is used as a guide in determining financial aid and need.

Document provided to the student indicating the total amount and types of financial aid for which the student is eligible.

This is the difference between the cost of attendance and the EFC. (Cost of attendance-EFC=Financial Need)

Type of financial aid provided by the government or the institution that is not required to be paid back.   Grants are usually based on financial need.

Books, personal expenses, transportation, and other costs associated with going to college.

Type of financial aid that is required to be paid back when the student is no longer enrolled.

Type of aid that does not need to be paid back and is based on performance or other criteria.  These are usually called scholarships.

Document sent to a student by the U.S. Department of Education. It summarizes information that was reported on the FAFSA.

This is a review process in which the Financial Aid office is required to request documentation from a student to verify the accuracy of the FAFSA. (About 1/3 of FAFSAs are randomly selected for verification.)