Searching and applying for financial aid can be a very frustrating process. Financial aid can come from federal or state programs, postsecondary institutions or private programs. It can be in the form of grants and scholarships, loans or student employment. Aid can be based on financial need or merit. Let's first look at the different types of aid:
Grants and scholarships are types of gift aid. They do not need to be paid back. They can be based on need or merit.
Loans are of two forms: subsidized or unsubsidized. Subsidized means that the federal government will pay the interest that adds up while a student is in school. Unsubsidized means that the student is responsible for the interest that adds up while in school.
Student employment can be part of a financial aid package. Through the federal work-study program, a student can work on or off campus to earn money for school.
There are two major ways that students apply for financial aid: search and apply for scholarships and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The scholarship search is the first step that seniors should take. The guidance office receives many notifications of scholarship opportunities throughout the school year from state and national schools and organizations. We will list all of those scholarship possibilites as they are received on the scholarship page. In addition, all seniors receive a local scholarship packet in January of their senior year along with a Common Scholarship Form to apply for all of the local scholarships. These will also be listed on the scholarship page. There are countless other scholarships available that we never even receive in the guidance office. For those, students are encouraged to take advantage of the scholarship search resources available on the Web. A few of the search websites are:
The U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid is
pleased to announce the release of FAFSA4caster, a new Web tool designed to
assist high school juniors and their families plan for education beyond high
school. Students can receive an estimated Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
by entering their information into FAFSA4caster, a simplified version of the
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). FAFSA4caster also provides
guidance on next steps for applying for admission, applying for federal student
aid, and paying for education beyond high school. Students and families interested
in assessing their eligibility for federal student aid can access FAFSA4caster
by visiting www.fafsa4caster.ed.gov/
Every year we receive phone calls from parents asking about information that
they have gotten in the mail offering scholarship searches. Our recommendation
is to never pay money for a scholarship search. Here are Six
Signs That A Scholarship Search May Be A Scholarship Scam:
- The scholarship is guaranteed or your money back.
- You can't get this information anywhere else.
- May I have your credit card or bank account number to hold this scholarhsip?
- We'll do all the work.
- The scholarship will cost some money.
- You've been selected by a "national foundation: to receive a scholarship,
or you're a finalist in a contest you never entered.
*****Very Important Information for Seniors and their parents:
The State Student Assistance Commission of Indiana (SSACI) will be moving to a PAPERLESS COMMUNICATION PROCESS for students attending higher education for the 2010-2011 academic year. To ensure that the state grant award process is progressing for the student to determine their state grant funding eligibility, SSACI wants the following points known:
- Students and Parents MUST put a valid (checked often) email address on their 2012-2013 FAFSA to receive email updates from SSACI. Both edit and award notifications will be sent via email in 2012-2013
- State grant funding consideration for 2012-2013 requires that a FAFSA be RECEIVED by the federal processor on or before March 10, 2013 - AND-
- The FAFSA must be error free by September 23, 2013 in order to remain in the state grant applicant pool
Students should visit eStudent, www.ssaci.in.gov/estudent, often between February and the start of their college school year. Students can view their state awards, award history, school choice, and any issues (called edits) that need to be corrected on their FAFSA. Any student who files a FAFSA with an Indiana address will be able to create an eStudent account.
To apply for federal, state and institutional aid, the student must be a U.S.
citizen or eligible noncitizen, be admitted to a degree or certificate program
school and be enrolled at least half-time in college. To receive aid from
the state of Indiana, the student must be an Indiana resident, attend an eligible
college in Indiana and make sure the FAFSA is filed after January 1st
by the U.S. Department of Education by March 10th of the senior year. A
paper copy of the FAFSA is no longer able to be obtained by the high school
to be distributed to students. Students will need to file the FAFSA online
or download a paper copy of the FAFSA. To file the FAFSA online, you will need
to apply for a PIN (Personal Identification Number)
as an electronic signature. A FAFSA on the Web Worksheet is available to assist
in completing the online form.
The federal processor will take the data from the FAFSA and generate a Student
Aid Report (SAR).
The SAR will be sent to you and the colleges you list on your FAFSA, and the
information will allow
the financial aid office at the college to award scholarships, loans and work-study.
The SAR will show your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
The EFC is the amount that the government determines that the student and
parents can afford to pay for the college expenses. Every college determines
the actual Cost of Attendance (COA) for their institution
which includes tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies and miscellaneous
expenses. The difference between the COA and what you can afford to pay (EFC)
is called your "Financial Need" (COA - EFC = Financial
Need). The college financial aid office will then determine what aid the
student is elegible
for by looking at the Financial Need and send an award letter to the student
listing the types and amounts of aid offered.
Types of Federal Aid:
- Pell Grant - going to the students with the most "need"
- Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG)
- Federal Work-study
- Federal Perkins Loans
- Stafford Loans (Subsidized and Unsubsidized)
- Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
Types of State Aid:
- Indiana Higher Education Grants
- Child of Certain Veterans and Public Safety Officers Supplemental Grant
- Twenty-first Century Scholars Award - students apply for this in 7th or
- Indiana Nursing Scholarship
- Indiana Minority Teacher Scholarship
- Special Education Services Scholarship
- Robert Byrd Scholarship
- Indiana National Guard Supplement Grant
Some colleges and universities may also have their own financial aid forms
that need to be completed or may require the College Scholarship Service
(CSS) PROFILE application in addition to the FAFSA. There is a fee
to file the PROFILE. Be sure to check with each individual school as to what
financial aid forms are required and the application deadlines.