Financing Your Education FAQ
What are the main sources of financial aid?
Who is eligible for federal financial aid?
When is the best time to begin the financial aid application process?
What steps do I need to take to receive financial aid?
What is the FAFSA, and where can I get it?
Is there a way to increase my chances of receiving more financial aid?
What are some of the differences between federal and private loans?
|Q:||What are the main sources of financial aid?|
|A:||The main source of financial aid is the federal government, which provides billions of dollars of financial aid to help millions of students finance their postsecondary education. If a student's federal financial aid is insufficient to cover the cost of his or her education, private loans are available to cover the rest of the student's needs.|
|Q:||Who is eligible for federal financial aid?|
|A:||Financial aid is available for any individual who fulfills the following requirements:
|Q:||When is the best time to begin the financial aid application process?|
|A:||The best time to begin the financial aid process is the year before you plan to go to college. You should fill out your FAFSA form as soon as possible after January 1. Check with your school's financial aid office to see whether they require any additional forms for financial aid that is offered through the school.|
|Q:||What steps do I need to take to receive financial aid?|
|A:||After applying to schools, you should complete the FAFSA and any other required forms and submit your Student Aid Report (SAR) to each school that you plan to attend. You should also search for and apply for scholarships. Each school that accepts you will offer you a financial aid package; take these offers into account when deciding which school to attend. Then, apply for additional loans if needed.|
|Q:||What is the FAFSA, and where can I get it?|
|A:||The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form that determines eligibility for all federal financial aid programs. It is used to figure out how much a family can afford to pay toward a student's college expenses based on household income and other factors, including how much you will need to meet the cost of attending college.
To get a copy of the FAFSA, you can ask your school's guidance counselor, or you can get the FAFSA from the financial aid office at a local college, your local public library, or by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID. The online version of the form is available at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov.
A FAFSA form must be completed each year that you wish to be considered for financial aid. The new FAFSA form and instructions usually become available in November prior to the new school year. The electronic version typically becomes available online in January prior to the new school year.
|Q:||Is there a way to increase my chances of receiving more financial aid?|
|A:||Yes. The best way to increase your chances of receiving more financial aid is to apply as early as possible. At most colleges, the funds allocated for scholarships, grants, Federal Perkins Loans, and Federal Work-Study are preset. Potentially, the school could run out of funds if you do not apply early enough, so it is in your best interest to apply as early as you can.|
|Q:||What are some of the differences between federal and private loans?|
|A:||Federal loans are borrowed from the government, while private loans are borrowed from lenders such as banks. In general, private loans are credit-based, which means that your eligibility is determined by your credit rating. Private lenders may require cosigners and may also require proof of income from the student or a cosigner before the student is approved for a loan. Additionally, federal loans generally have lower interest rates than private loans.|
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IRS Reminds Students of "Tax-Advantaged Education Expenses"
By Surajit Sen Sharma
On September 11th, the IRS news release "Back-to-School Tax Breaks Help Teachers Pay Classroom Costs; Aid Parents, Students With College Tuition" stressed the importance of saving receipts and maintaining expense records to take full advantage of deductions on educational expenses and credits available on federal income tax returns for 2007.
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