The Basics of Financial Aid

Brief Synopsis of Financial Aid

What is the FAFSA? 


FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is the form that colleges and universities will use to determine how much money to offer you for your education based on your expected family contribution. Your family expected contribution is determined after you have submitted your FAFSA. The EFC is calculated based on income, assets, and other household information that you will be asked to provide on the FAFSA. Note  this however. Just because you have might have a specific expected family contribution that is determined by FAFSA that doesn't mean a school will completely cover the rest of the costs. Loans and other types of aid may be used to cover it. 


Every family is unique, so there may be a particular way that you will have to submit your FAFSA, specifically if your a dependent. (Information below pertaining to complex family situations is from prepscholar.org)


  • A "Parent" refers to a biological or adoptive parent or a person determined by the state to be a parent (for example, if the parent is listed on the birth certificate).
  • Grandparents, foster parents, legal guardians, older siblings, and uncles or aunts are not considered parents on the FAFSA unless they have legally adopted you.
  • If your legal parents are living and married to each other, answer the questions on the FAFSA about both of them.
  • If your legal parents are not married and live together, answer the questions about both of them.
  • In case of divorce or separation, give information about the parent you lived with most in the last 12 months.
  • If you did not live with one parent more than the other, give information about the parent who provided you the most financial support during the last 12 months or during the most recent year you received support.
  • If your divorced or widowed parent has remarried, also provide information about your stepparent.

REMEMBER! FAFSA OPENS ON OCTOBER 1ST EVERY YEAR! CHECK YOUR PARTICULAR SCHOOL OF INTEREST TO SEE THERE SPECIFIC DEADLINE FOR THE FAFSA BEING SUBMITTED.


What is the CSS Profile?


The CSS Profile is similar to the FAFSA because your family's income and assets to determine your family's expected contribution. However, while the FAFSA determines the amount of Federal Aid (money from government) you are eligible to receive, the CSS Profile determines the amount of institutional aid you are eligible to receive. 


Click on the Link Below to see if your desired institution requires you to submit a CSS profile since not all schools do. 


https://profile.collegeboard.org/profile/ppi/participatingInstitutions.aspx

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