To learn more about the financial aid process, you should attend your school's financial aid night or workshop with your parent(s). The following is a brief overview of various topics discussed at a workshop.
Financial Aid Overview
By attending a financial aid night, you will learn about the different types of financial aid including:
A financial aid workshop should provide you with information about student aid opportunities from the federal government, the state, postsecondary institutions, and private sources. You will be able to ask questions about the different types of aid, and you should also receive handouts to take home for reference.
Applying for Student Aid
To apply for federal financial aid, you must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It can be completed online at www.fafsa.ed.gov as soon as possible after January 1st of the year for which you are requesting aid. At the financial aid workshop, speakers will go over important aspects of filling out the FAFSA. Topics may include:
Online (recommended) vs. paper applications
Obtaining a PIN number for online applications
Materials needed for filling out FAFSA
Determining Financial Need
If you are confused about how colleges determine a student's financial need, attending a financial aid night will help clear up that confusion. A financial aid professional will explain the factors that go into determining financial need, including:
Cost of Attendance (COA)
Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
Financial aid speakers will specify what you and your parents need to do in order to prepare for the federal financial aid process. You will also learn about the responsibilities of the financial aid office and where you can go for help.
Attending a financial aid workshop will give you the opportunity to find out information about the financial aid process and ask any questions you may have. Even if you think you will not qualify for federal financial aid, you should still attend and learn how you might benefit from applying. Contact your high school counselor to find out when and where a student financial aid workshop will be held in your area.