A good education is a wise investment in your future, but it can be expensive. Most students and their families need additional monetary resources to help meet the rising cost of post-secondary education. Financial aid is available to eligible students, but obtaining it requires some homework and diligence on your part to discover the many options open to you and your family. This booklet is not intended to be an all-inclusive guide to scholarships. Students need to see their counselors regularly and to listen to their announcements as applications arrive in the guidance office frequently throughout the school year.
Financial responsibility for a college education is first the student's, then the family's, and lastly, the government's.
Most financial aid programs are normally based on need , which is determined by a complex formula that takes into account family income, living expenses, assets, number of household members and number of people attending school. Once all these variables are evaluated, your family's financial situation can be determined. Then it can be estimated what amount of money your family can comfortably afford to contribute to your education and what remaining costs will need to be met by assistance.
The formula for financial aid eligibility is determined by Federal Methodology . This is used to determine the relative financial strength of the family or independent student. It is a fair, systematic system for everyone. The chosen college Financial Aid office may be able to assist in individual circumstances.
You will need to take stock of your own financial situation. It is best to figure out what kind of personal resources of "self-help" that you have first. This includes savings of your own and earnings from part-time jobs . Self-help should take care of an important share of your educational expenses, with the balance possibly being met through financial assistance.
**You can improve your chances of receiving the assistance you need by knowing what you have to do, when you have to do it, and by completing your applications correctly and promptly . The key is to plan ahead and apply early ! Give your counselor any forms that need to be completed early in the process!!! To be admitted to college, students will need to fill out an application, take a college admissions test (ACT or SAT) and have their counselors send a transcript to the college or university. It is best to have all of this done in the fall of the senior year. The financial aid process should begin in early fall with students submitting the college financial aid application (some schools have one combined form for admission and financial aid; see a college catalog or counselor if in doubt) and doing internet scholarship searches culminating in completed scholarship applications. As soon as possible after January 1 of the calendar year the student begins college, the FAFSA needs to be completed.
Remember, the internet is a valuable tool in this process. Use it at school, media centers, local library or at home. Also, beware of unscrupulous companies that guarantee financial aid for a fee. Most of this information students can obtain free from high school counselors or for themselves on the internet.
You must also keep in mind that in order to participate in any assistance or scholarship program, you must apply . This information is used to determine your need for financial assistance. However, your need may not guarantee the amount of assistance you ultimately receive. It is up to the specific college and government agencies to decide how much and what kind of aid you will receive. Applications must be complete and on time.