By completing the FAFSA each year, you are sure to be considered for federal aid, and most state and institutional aid as well. Keep in mind that you must reapply each year you are in school or when you transfer to a different college.
Timeliness and accuracy are critical when it comes to applying for financial aid.
Before you get started get organized. Keep a file with all the information you gather about various aid programs. Set up a calendar, noting application deadlines and important requirements, then follow your schedule to the letter. Keep copies of all applications you file and record the dates you filed them.
1. Explore Costs and Save for College.
Parents and children should begin to save for college as soon as possible. Explore costs for postsecondary education and ways to pay for it. Take college preparation courses/curriculum.
( Sallie Mae/USA Funds assists with choosing a college, funding a college education,
tips for parents and a scholarship search)
The Student Guide is a comprehensive resource on student financial aid from the U.S. Department of Education. Grants, loans, and work-study are the three major forms of aid available through the Department's Federal Student Aid office. Updated each award year, The Student Guide tells you about the programs and how to apply for them.
(Federal Student Aid Information site helps students, parents and counselors with preparation, choices, applying, and funding issues for college, graduate school, junior/high school, and elementary levels)
(Scholarships and Money for College)
(Hobsons College View - Provides information and tools designed to help you determine and understand the costs associated with higher education)
(Arizona’s 529 plan website - to save for college)
2. Identify Priorities and Postsecondary Institutions that Match.
Determine what is important to you and what schools/colleges match your priorities. Start looking in your first two years of high school. Visit campuses. Attend college fairs. Take the PSAT, SAT, and or the ACT. Some helpful websites follow.
(College Opportunities On-Line - COOL)
3. Settle on a Few Options and Apply.
Apply to the postsecondary institutions you want to consider. Applications for early decisions are due early in the fall of your senior year. Some helpful websites follow.
(Get recruited by, and perhaps be offered scholarships
to attend schools throughout the U.S.)
(The Common Application is the recommended form of 255 selective
colleges and universities for admission to their undergraduate programs.)
4. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by
mid-February at www.fafsa.ed.gov
One Arizona university’s early filing date is February 15. You may also need to complete a CSS PROFILE if attending a private college or university. Some helpful websites follow:
(Site to request a Personal Identification Number (PIN)
that serves as the access code to U.S. Department of Education systems.
It allows you to file the FAFSA online.)
(Wesite to use as reference for FAFSA questions or call 1.800.4 FEDAID)
5. Review financial aid packages from college choices with financial aid professionals.