FAFSA Questions

<p>How does it work?
Can you receive full financial aid?
Can it be applied to all schools, even out of state (MIT, Ivy Leagues, etc, Stanford) and privates?</p>

<p>FAFSA doesn't give you any money. </p>

<p>FAFSA is just a federal application to see what federal aid you qualify for. Federal grants are small and don't pay for much. Federal student loans are small and don't pay for much.</p>

<p>When you fill out FAFSA, you have to include your family's financial info...income, assets, savings, etc. From that info, an EFC is computed. EFC stands for Expected Family Contribution, however that is a misnomer. That wrongfully suggests that that is all a family has to pay. That isn't true. Colleges are under no obligation to do anything with that number except to see what small amounts of federal aid you qualify for. Schools do not have to meet need, and most can't meet need. </p>

<p>The top schools that do give the best aid, schools use an additional form - CSS Profile - to determine need. And, many of these schools will also expect the financial info from any non-custodial parents and spouses. So, FAFSA may give you an EFC of - say - $10k, but a school using CSS Profile may say that your family contribution should be $20k. Each school that uses CSS has its own formula.</p>

<p>Most schools do NOT meet need. Most schools do not have the money. </p>

<p>If you need financial aid, the first thing you need to do is talk to your parents. How much will they contribute each year for your education. Even if you get accepted to a “meets full need school,” if the amount that your parents will pay is a lot less than colleges will likely expect them to pay, then you'll have a real problem. If your school does not meet need, and your parents won’t pay much, then you will also have a problem. To protect yourself from only having unaffordable acceptances, you'd need to include a couple of financial safety schools on your list.</p>

<p>
[quote]
How does it work?
Can you receive full financial aid?
Can it be applied to all schools, even out of state (MIT, Ivy Leagues, etc, Stanford) and privates?

[/quote]
</p>

<p>How does it work?</p>

<p>You will need to complete whatever financial aid application forms your college(s) requires...and submit those forms and any required supporting documentation to the schools ON TIME. </p>

<p>The FAFSA is required by almost all schools. It is available for completion January 1 of your senior year in high school. You will want to complete it ASAP after that date. The FAFSA info computes an EFC (expected family contribution...this should be viewed as the MINIMUM you will be paying, not the maximum). The FAFSA EFC is used to determine the eligibility for federally funded need based aid. Some schools also use this information to award their own institutional need based funds.</p>

<p>The CSS Profile is required by about 300 colleges. MIT, Stanford and most of the Ivies, and a bunch of private schools (like Amherst, etc) require the Profile (Princeton has its own form which has the same information). If required, you MUST complete this form and send it to the college(s) as well ON TIME. The Profile is available for submission in the Fall of your senior year.</p>

<p>Some schools have their own financial aid application form, and some require the submission of signed tax returns with the financial aid application. Make sure you check EACH school for their financial aid application requirements AND for the DEADLINES for submission.</p>

<p>You will send the application information ON TIME (dont' miss the deadlines for the financial aid forms to be completed....and check each school...they are different) to all the schools to which you apply. Each school that accepts you will award you a financial aid package (hopefully!!). You will choose ONE school to attend and accept that award.</p>

<p>The awards from ONE school do not transfer to ANOTHER school. The only "constant" would be your eligibility for the Pell grant. If you are eligible at one school, you would be eligible for it at another...but you STILL need to file a FAFSA (and Profile if required) at that "other" school to be awarded any aid.</p>

<p>Does that make sense?</p>

<p>I have a question about FAFSA... if it comes out one the first of Jan, is it different from the one available now? all the EAs seem to want FAFSA forms filled out by their deadline. </p>

<p>Thanks in advance!</p>

<p>The current FAFSA form may be similar to the one that will be available on Jan 1, but the form won't be for the 2011-12 school year which is what people will be applying for during this next round of college applications.</p>

<p>The EAs may want estimated numbers or they may want CSS filled out. However, they can't require you to submit the FAFSA for the 2011-12 school year earlier than it is possible....and that one won't be available until Jan 1</p>

<p>Wow, it is discouraging that students and parents come here in the hopes that some one will magically post one paragraph that explains the college financial aid universe. </p>

<p>Go to the Fafsa.gov site and READ. Read all the FAQs and then go to each school that interests you and READ their websites carefully (because every state and every private school is different). </p>

<p>I know I shouldn't be grumpy --- there is a lot to know and an online forum is exactly the place to learn details -- but you really do have to do some basic homework first. Thumper1 and mom2 did a nice thumbnail sketch but there is more to know, for sure. </p>

<p>Really check out the FAFSA site well. Browse the college financial aid books at your library, school and local book store. Get a feel for the process and its vocabulary. Mastering the process can save you thousands of dollars -- but there is not a magical form that eliminates all your bills and troubles. Good luck -- and come back (often!) for insights that you can use.</p>

<p>EA schools do not want a FAFSA from the wrong year to be submitted. If you are applying EA for admission fall 2011, the FAFSA for you will be the 2011-2012 FAFSA available on Jan 1, 2011. Check your EA school deadlines...you will likely see a priority filing deadline for the Profile which is October or November (or a school finaid form if that is what they use) with a January filing date for the FAFSA. That is the earliest you can file that FAFSA using estimates. You cannot submit a 2010-2011 FAFSA for any kind of consideration for financial aid for the 2011-2012 school year.</p>

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<p>I have not have been on this forum as long as some others have been, but even in the short time, I have seen the same questions keep getting asked over and over again. This reflects a lot of misinformation and disinformation that colleges, counselors, loan givers and others continuously propagate. </p>

<p>Myths include
[ol]
[<em>]FAFSA or the Govt. provides scholarships and aid to students (partially true, but again it may be in loans or other aid and only to a certain subs-set of students and FAFSA is a data collection instrument, it does not provide loans)
[</em>]If a student has low income (and to those knowledgeable a EFC of or near Zero) schools will give enough aid to attend that school (again partially true but if the aid is in form of loans, then it is not really aid and some schools are better than others)
[<em>]Aid in form of work study is not really aid as the student has to work for it and/or work study is guaranteed work.
[</em>]Schools that meet need means that the student will get a full ride with no parental contribution needed.
[li]............I could go on and on[/li][/ol]</p>

<p>So how poor do you have to be to get a full ride? I have a sister that attends Berkeley, and she apparently applied for FAFSA in her high school years and got full financial aid all four years.</p>

<p>
[quote]
she apparently applied for FAFSA in her high school years and got full financial aid all four years.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>You don't "apply for FAFSA". FAFSA is a financial aid application form that you fill out and submit to the colleges. </p>

<p>Are you instate for CA? If so, perhaps that is why your sister received a full ride to Berkeley. It's a public funded state university...and with the Cal grant, full Pell, and Stafford loans...and a scholarship of some amount, she could have full funding at Berkeley.</p>

<p>
[quote]
So how poor do you have to be to get a full ride? I have a sister that attends Berkeley, and she apparently applied for FAFSA in her high school years and got full financial aid all four years.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>To me, a full ride means no loans and no parental contribution. Colleges like Harvard expect no parental contribution for students with family income of $60,000 with minimum contribution for families with income up to $80,000. Unfortunately not many other colleges be as generous as Harvard.</p>

<p>Some colleges give students a very good package (very little loans, mostly grants, almost a full ride) because of the student's need, others because of need and merit (two students with same family income may get different packages due to one candidate being more desirable). Other colleges give very poor aid even for students with low income, NYU supposedly being one of those.</p>

<p>So everything depends: Your statistics, the college you are applying to and what you bring to the institution i.e. if you are URM or a first generation college student or live in a state like WY etc. If you are concerned about aid, make sure you apply to state universities as a financial safety.</p>

<p>"So how poor do you have to be to get a full ride?" At most colleges the rare "full ride" is much more about your stats than your financials. However, there are a few publics and a small number of privates that guarantee to meet your full need without loans if your family income is under a certain level, often 40K. You have to live instate at the publics and you need super stats at the privates. I'd guess less than 1% of students whose family income is under 40K get a "full ride", the vast majority go to lower level states, community colleges, work or the service or are overwhelmed with huge loans.</p>

<p>Luciferlied, it sounds like you have an expert right in the family. Take your sister for a cup of coffee and get educated! </p>

<p>Your sister/parents had to fill out the FAFSA in January of her high school senior year AND every January after that (ie, if you go to college four years, you fill out the FAFSA four times). Ask sis/parents to show you those FAFSA's and you will learn a lot. Ask sis to show you her package from Berkeley and you will get an excellent idea of what amount of grants/loans are likely for you.</p>

<p>Lots of kids think others are getting a full ride when lots of loans are part of the deal such as they are for UC students. Blue and Gold, for the poorest UC students, covers fees, but room and board are more than fees. Poor UC students end up with significant debt.</p>

<p>*So how poor do you have to be to get a full ride?</p>

<p>I have a sister that attends Berkeley, and she apparently applied for FAFSA in her high school years and got full financial aid all four years. *</p>

<p>Your sister must be a Calif resident and her family must be lowish income. UCs don't give lots of financial aid unless family income is low and a Calif resident.</p>

<p>Is this a "half sister"? I'm only asking because if you have the same dad, but different moms, and she lives with her mom in Calif, then only her mom's income would count at a UC.</p>

<p>Or is your sister going there for grad school? If so, that's VERY different.</p>

<p>What is your situation?</p>

<p>Do you live in Calif?</p>

<p>Do you live with both of your parents?</p>

<p>Do your parents have a "good income"?</p>