5 Things To Do After Submitting For Financial Aid

 In Admissions, FInancial Aid, Planning for College

Congratulations! Hopefully, you have completed your 2018–19 Free Application for Federal Student Aid(FAFSA) form!

If not, here is where you start. Your first step is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You need to fill out this paperwork every year for each student. The FAFSA allows your children to be eligible for any form of federal aid, including grants or loans. Fill out the FAFSA in early October . Once you submit your FAFSA, the financial aid administration will read through your application and calculate how much financial aid you will receive towards tuition—and how much you will pay on your own.

What should you do after filing the FAFSA?

1. Review Your FAFSA® Confirmation Page

After you complete the FAFSA form and click “SUBMIT,” you’ll see a confirmation page like the one below. This is not your financial aid offer. You’ll get that separately from the school(s) you apply and get into. Your school(s) calculate your aid.

The confirmation page provides federal aid estimates based on the information you provided. It’s important to know these figures are estimates and assume the information you provided is correct. To calculate the actual amount of aid you’re eligible for, your school will take into account other factors, such as the cost to attend the school. Additionally, these estimates only take into account federal aid and not outside scholarships or state and institutional financial assistance you may also be eligible for.

TIP 1: If you EFC (or Estimated Family Contribution) is higher than expected you might want to have an expert review your inputs.  Also, I would also recommend building a four-year funding blueprint analyzing the full costs at each university to which your student applies. Download this free guide that discusses a new  approach to funding college.
TIP 2: Each school you are accepted to – and include on your FAFSA form – will send you a financial aid offer. Until you receive this notification, it may be difficult to know exactly how much aid you might be eligible to receive from a specific school. To get an idea of how much aid schools tend to give depending on your family’s income, visit CollegeScorecard.ed.gov and type in the school(s) you want to look up.

2. Review Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

The information input on your FAFSA form is used to calculate your EFC.  It’s very important to note that the EFC, in most cases, is not the amount of money your family will have to pay for college.  Instead, the EFC is calculated number used by financial aid offices to calculate your need. The formula they use is:

    Cost of attendance
 Expected family contribution
    Your financial “need”

Understanding how a school awards aid should  is critical if you have a low EFC.  Each school will do its best to meet your financial need but some schools  meet 100% of your financial need, and other schools may only meet 25%.  You will need to complete the FAFSA form annually and planning prior to each submission is important because there are many factors that can change from year to year.

TIP 3: College financial planning and EFC planning can happen every year so it is never too late to save on college costs even if you missed an opportunity your first year.  If you want to learn more, please feel free to reach to our team and schedule a 30 minute complimentary call.
NOTE: Contrary to popular belief, the EFC formula considers more than just income. Factors such as dependency status, family size and the number of family members who will attend college are just a few of the additional factors considered.

3. Apply For as Many Scholarships as You Can

Many schools won’t be able to meet your full financial need, so you will need a way to fill the gap.  Scholarships can be a great way to fill the gap. (Who doesn’t like free money?)

However, you should ask each you school how they view outside scholarships.  In many cases, outside scholarships will be viewed as a family resource potentially taking away your aid.  At other schools, they can help your curb the cost of college.

Tip 4: Don’t wait until after you receive your financial aid offer to start applying for scholarships. There are thousands of scholarships out there, but many have early deadlines. Set a goal for yourself to apply to one scholarship per week. There’s tons of free money but you have to know the deadlines or you can miss out.

If you still don’t have enough money to pay for school after financial aid and scholarships, review these steps to make sure you are receiving the best award.


4. Be On the Lookout for Your Aid Offer(s)

The 2018–19 FAFSA form opened October 1.  Even if you submit it early, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll get an aid offer right away. Each school has a different schedule for awarding and paying out financial aid.  Please note, many schools will award aid on a first come / first serve basis.  Remember, the schools send the awards, not the FAFSA folks.

Many awards will come to your student email or college website portal and others will come in the mail.  It is important for your student to continue to check their school portal for awards or at least give you their password(s) so you can stay on top of things.

TIP 6: After your FAFSA form has been processed successfully, it’s a great idea to make sure the schools you listed on your FAFSA form have received everything they need.
TIP 7: Don’t assume scholarships are automatic and find out if your school requires additional applications or documentation and submit any required documentation by the appropriate deadlines.

5. Make Corrections To Your FAFSA If  Needed

After your FAFSA form has been submitted and processed (which takes about 72 hours), you can go back and submit a correction to certain fields or add additional schools.

Just log back into FAFSA and click  “Make FAFSA Corrections” button.

You can add up to 10 schools at a time. If you’re applying to more than 10 schools, follow these steps.

 

Need a hand?  See if we can help, Let’s Connect – Schedule a complimentary 30 minute call.


 

 

Stuart Canzeri
Stuart has been in the financial and college planning arena for a combined 15 years. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Tulane University, a MBA from Mercer University and completed his Certified Financial Planner certification from the University of Georgia’s Terry School of Business. Sign up to receive tips and tricks for college planning.
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