FAFSA 101

Financial Aid Process & Appeal

FAFSA Basics

Terms and Processes for FAFSA
What is FAFSA?

FAFSA is an acronym that stands for ‘Free Application for Federal Student Aid’. Colleges and universities use this form to determine your eligibility for federal, state and college-sponsored financial aid, including grants, educational loans and work-study programs. FAFSA is used to determine your eligibility by calculating your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) for college. Your EFC is the dollar amount that reflects how much you can afford to pay for each academic year. The lower your EFC, the more aid you are eligible to receive; EFC is determined based on income, assets and other household information.

What Happens After You File Your FAFSA?

After you file your FAFSA, you will receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) within 3-5 days. Your SAR will have a summary of the information you submitted on your FAFSA along with your EFC. Your EFC does NOT determine the amount of aid you will receive from colleges, it determines the amount of aid you are eligible to receive.

Financial Aid Award Letters

The colleges that you list on your FAFSA will have access to your information electronically one day after it is processed. All colleges will use this information from your FAFSA to help them determine what financial aid they will offer you. The financial aid award letter will outline your financial aid package, including the amount of aid you will be offered in grants, government loans and scholarships. Subtract the amount of financial aid you are offered from the cost of attendance and you can determine your out-of-pocket expenses for the upcoming academic year.

Professional Coaching Assistance

Completing the FAFSA is the first step to receiving higher education.  Incorrectly filling out the form could result in loss of scholarships, grants or loans. To ensure that your first step is completed correctly and on time our college planning coaches assist and guide families in successfully filling out this form.  Our coaches on average have 20 years of experience in filling out this form and understand the importance of students receiving financial aid to attend college. Financial aid is the most important step a student to takes towards their college career and our coaches will guide and help you every step of the way.

After You Apply

Once you submit the FAFSA form, your family's financial information is analyzed using the federal need formula.

 Student Aid Report (SAR)
  • Contains the information submitted on the FAFSA.

 

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
  • Based on a formula, this is what the family is expected to contribute to the student's education.
  • EFC determines need based on financial aid rewards.

 

Save All Documents
  • Students should check their college financial aid account monthly
  • A large percentage of students are selected for verification and will need to turn in documents.
  • Students should make a file and save copies of all documents used for their FAFSA.
  • Students should make sure the college received their FAFSA

 

Student Loans and Grants
  • Evaluate types of loans - Subsidized or unsubsidized - The students can turn down what they don't need.
  • Students must complete an online loan counseling class at http://studentlaons.gov.
  • Grants are funds awarded to the student that don't have to be paid back.

FAFSA is the first step towards any award.

If you don't fill out your FAFSA you can lose scholarship dollars as most scholarships require you to have FAFSA on file.

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