The number one reason students leave college early is lack of funds. Plan ahead and take advantage of government programs designed to keep you afloat through college without overwhelming your bank account afterward.
How to Apply for Student Aid
To apply for all forms of student aid, fill in a FAFSA application, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Take your time and double-check all the numbers before sending it out. Experts recommend submitting applications as early as possible in order to qualify for the most aid possible. However, the most important factor is accuracy. An extra digit can make your tuition much more difficult to cover. Thankfully, the electronic application provides ample information and opportunity for review.
For the best results, collect all the information about your family’s income and assets before the FAFSA application opens October 1st of each year.
Information to Collect
For your FAFSA, you will need the following for yourself and each parent or guardian:
- Social Security Number or Alien Registration Number
- Federal income tax returns
- Bank statements
- Records of Investments
If you have trouble finding your income and tax information, try using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool of the FAFSA website.
Reporting Parental Income
In most cases, undergraduate students under the age of 24 must include their parents’ or guardians’ income in their FAFSA application. You do not have to report your parents’ income if you are married, a veteran, or have a legal dependent.
If none of these criteria apply to you and you are not receiving financial assistance from a parent or legal guardian, you may request a waiver from a financial aid administrator at the university you are applying for. See how to attain a dependency override.
Understanding Your SAR
After your FAFSA application has been reviewed, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) which summarizes your household information. Check for errors and look for your EFC, or Expected Family Contribution, in the top-right corner. This is the amount you will need to pay back after completing college.
If your family earns less than $26,000 per year, you may qualify for zero EFC, meaning you may owe nothing in student loans. However, most students must pay something. The average student loan is $393 per month, though payments don’t start until 6 months after leaving school. Until then, your student debt will be lessened with the help of scholarships.
Trinity Education Foundation Scholarships
Greet challenges in life with enthusiasm
Reach for goals you set
Accountable for acknowledging who you are; becoming the best at what you do
Dedicate service to others in whatever you do in life
Scholarship Applications must be completed by March 31st, so let your friends know while there’s still time.