FAFSA FAQs

Do I qualify for financial aid?

 

Every student is eligible to submit the FAFSA. But you have to be aware that not everyone will get all types of financial aid.

 

Also you must know that different types of financial aid have different eligibility criteria. Generally, most grants are need-based and most scholarships are merit-based. Any student who is a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen qualifies for federal student loans.

How do I apply?

For all federal financial aid programs, students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). FAFSA on the Web is a free U.S. Department of Education Web site where students can complete an online FAFSA https://fafsa.ed.gov/

Is there anything I should do before I file the FAFSA?

Yes, you should locate your FSA ID. FSA ID allows electronic access to update and sign the FAFSA.  The FSA ID, which consists of a user-created username and password, replaced the PIN effective May, 2015.  If you or your parent (if you are a dependent student) has forgotten or needs to apply for an FSA ID, please visit fsaid.ed.gov.

Also, to get a head start on the application process, please confirm your e-mail address, mailing address, and contact information with the U.S. Department of Education is accurate. Visit www.fafsa.gov and follow the instructions to verify/update your information.

 

What is a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID?

An FSA ID is a username and password that you must use to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education (ED) websites. Students, parents, and borrowers are required to use an FSA ID. FSA ID is used to confirm your identity when accessing your financial aid information and electronically signing your federal student aid documents such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

How do I confirm my FAFSA is complete?

Upon completion of the FAFSA, students will receive a confirmation number. If a valid email address was included on the application, the Department of Education will email you instructions on how to access your Student Aid Report (SAR. The SAR summarizes the information you provided on your FAFSA. Also review that information carefully to make sure it is correct and complete. We suggest you keep a copy for your records.

Does the FAFSA cost anything?

 

No. The FAFSA is free to fill out and submit. Be wary of companies that charge you to fill out the form.

 

Do I apply for financial aid each year?

Yes. Students are required to file a FAFSA by March 2nd of each year.

 

I heard there were some FAFSA changes recently. What were they?

Yes FAFSA changes last year, the Department of Education began opening the FAFSA earlier, in October instead of January. You can access the FAFSA for the 2018-19 school year starting on Oct. 1, 2017.

 

The department also changed the tax year from which families should submit income information. To complete the FAFSA instead of the prior year’s tax information Families should now use their “prior-prior year” tax information. This mean that families should use 2016 tax information to complete the 2018-19 form. This allows you to file the FAFSA before filing your previous year’s taxes.

Is there a deadline?

There is no “official” deadline, although you should submit your FAFSA As Soon As Possible to maximize financial aid opportunities and to be prepared for the fall semester. The 2017-2018 FAFSA is available through June 30, 2018; however, if we do not receive your official FAFSA prior to the end of your enrolment period, we will not be able to process your federal aid. Some programs have limited funding, so the earlier you apply the better!

Why should I apply as soon as possible?

Because some colleges awarded to undergraduate student on first-come, first-served basis by the state until the funds are spent.

What tax year information do I use to complete the 2017-2018 FAFSA?

You will use the 2015 federal tax information to complete the FAFSA for 2017-2018. Since the taxes were filed in April of 2016, you are encouraged to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool in the FAFSA to automatically transfer your (and your parents, if dependent) IRS tax return data to your FAFSA. Certain groups, such as married filing separate tax returns and victims of identity theft, are unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to complete the FAFSA and should use their 2015 tax information that was filed with the IRS.

 

What is Verification?

It’s a process to verify information that has been reported on the FAFSA by the student. It’s required by federal regulations.

Why was I selected for Verification?

Sometimes students make errors on their application, so it necessary to verify provided information.

Will I receive financial aid?

Once all of the documentation has been received, the financial aid office (FAO) will review the information and make any adjustments and or corrections to the application as necessary. After the “changes” have been approved, the FAO will be able to award the student. If however, the proper documentation is not completed by the deadline date the students financial aid will be delayed or terminated.

Should I apply for financial aid?

Absolutely. Don’t make mistake like some students which mistakenly think they do not qualify for aid and prevent themselves from receiving financial aid by failing to apply for it. In addition, there are other sources of aid such as the Grad Plus Loan, Unsubsidized Stafford Loans that are available regardless of need. The Grad Plus Loan and Private or alternative loans are available on a credit basis.

Does applying for financial aid hurt my chances of being admitted?

Not usually. You are generally admitted based on your academic performance and the qualities you bring to the campus community. One of the colleges goal is to admit a diverse group of students and often use financial aid to achieve that. It is very important to apply for financial aid early in the application process, before all of a college’s funds are allocated.

Do I qualify for aid even if I don’t get straight A’s?

It’s true that many scholarships reward student performance in high school, but most government aid is based on financial need. Be aware that if you do receive need-based aid, you must remain in good academic standing to renew your aid annually.

 

How is student financial aid determined?

All federal financial aid is determined by comparing student resources to a predetermined student budget. The Financial Aid Office determines the budget annually. All students in graduate school are automatically considered independent. Resources are calculated with the contributions of student and spouse. All these contributions are added to any other support such as Social Security, or GI Bill payments. The total is subtracted from the student’s budget, and the difference is the student’s financial need.

The student will receive an offer of financial aid also known as an award letter, after deducting all reported scholarships and other resources.

Is my family’s income too high to qualify for aid?

College financial aid officers consider family income and  the number of family members in college, medical expenses and many other factors when reviewing your financial aid application. The mayor goal of financial aid is to make college available to students from many different financial situations.

So, even if you think your family income is too high for you to qualify for aid, you should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after Oct. 1. This form determines your eligibility for federal and state student grants, work-study and federal loans.

You can use the college’s net price calculator , to get an estimate of how much financial aid a college will offer you — and therefore how much you’ll really pay to go to that college.

Most colleges have these tools on their websites. Net price calculators give you an estimate of your net price for a particular college — that is, the cost of attendance minus the gift aid you might get.

 

What if my financial situation changes?

Financial aid recipients must  report in writing any changes in their status. This including but not limited to student and spousal earnings, resources from family, receipt of financial support from other WesternU departments, receipt of financial support from outside agencies, changes in marital status, etc. This information will be reviewed by a financial aid counselor which will make adjustments as necessary to the student’s financial aid award.

 

What if you have unusual circumstances?

  • Make an appointment to see a financial aid counselor.
  • What if I have unusual circumstances?
  • Make an appointment to see a financial aid counselor.

Can I try to get my aid award revised?

Some colleges may be willing to review your financial aid package if your financial situation changes. Please inform college about these changes. Also consider discussing  with the financial aid office if your family has experienced an unexpected decrease in income or increase in expenses since you applied for financial aid.

Are private colleges out of my reach?

Although the cost of college is certainly an important factor, you should not concentrate on it until later in your college-selection process. Instead, focus on finding a college that is a good fit — one that meets your academic, career and personal needs.

In some cases, you might have a better chance of receiving aid from a private college and end up paying a lower total price than at a public college. Private colleges often offer more financial aid to attract students from every income level.

Should I work while I’m attending college?

Students who attempt to juggle full-time work and full-time studies may have difficulty completing their academic programs. However, students who choose to work a moderate amount often do better academically. You may find that working in campus jobs related to your career goals may be a good way to manage college costs, get experience and create new ties with the university.

What if I’m a Graduate or Professional student?

Graduate and professional students do not need to apply in October since they are not eligible for CAP Grants. However, to ensure early processing of your financial aid awards, please complete your FAFSA as soon as possible when you have your income information available.

 

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