Well it is definitely the time of year when senior high school students start sending their college applications out and they start applying for financial aid. But you will be surprised at how many teenagers do not apply for financial aid because they automatically assume they don’t qualify. But you never know until you try. If you are curious there are plenty of websites that offer free financial aid calculators they will help you to see that you may qualify.
One website is www.finaid.org. Most schools base financial aid on the students expected family contribution. What you do is complete the free application for federal student aid or FASFA. Then they will send your EFC (expected family contribution) to the schools you have selected. Remember that each school is different. The website for the free application for federal student aid is www.fafsa.ed.gov. You should call each school first to see what they require you to do. Most however will want you to submit the FAFSA form first to even be considered for financial aid.
Also how much financial aid your child will get, greatly depends on how much money the parents make. It may seem a little unfair, but that is how things work. Since the cost of tuition is continuing to rise this may be the only option for many parents and their teens. In order to qualify for the following year you will usually need to submit your FAFSA form between January and June. As with most government forms the process time will usually take about a month or more. What you will get is a Student Aid Report that will say what your expected family contribution is. They usually get this amount by subtracting what your parents can afford from the cost of the schools you have chosen.
Completing the FAFSA form however is a lot more challenging than you may think. If you make just one mistake, they will send it back to you. This can cause you to miss the deadline. You will then have to re-apply for financial aid every single year. Financial aid is usually awarded on a first come first serve basis. Most of the time if you get financial aid you will still have to work to cover the cost of living expenses, supplies and books. Most high school students are offered assistance by their schools in filling out their college applications and their financial aid forms.
You should make sure that your teenager speaks with their school guidance counselor to find out when these services would be made available. They will also let you know about any grants that are being offered that they may qualify for. By doing this it will ensure that you do not miss any deadlines, and that all their paperwork is filled out and submitted properly. Make sure you take the time and go over everything with your children. This will definitely help you to get your child settled in to college early, and will take the stress off of waiting until the last minute.