Applying for financial aid is typically done by parents of seniors. It is a cumbersome process and is based on the head of household tax return which is submitted in or after January. Financial aid packages are prepared on a first come basis so it is in the best interest of the cadet to submit the financial aid forms as soon as possible after January 1st. If these forms are submitted in March, very often the financial aid budget has been depleted.
Applying for Aid:
Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Pin numbers are required to access FAFSA on the Web and then they serve as the parent’s and student’s electronic signature before submitting the application. Pin numbers are created on the following Web site: www.pin.ed.gov. The FAFSA must be filled out in order to apply for any government loans or grants, and it may be submitted after January 1st of each year. After you complete the FAFSA online, you will receive the Student Aid Report (SAR). Be sure to review this report carefully and correct any errors immediately.
Complete the CSS Profile online at https://profileonline.collegeboard.com as early as October of the senior year. The CSS Profile is mostly used by private colleges with money of their own to give away. They often times request additional information about your finances than what the federal government requests on the FAFSA. There is a registration fee, and additional costs to send the information to colleges once CSS Profile has processed the information. Please note that not all colleges require this form, so it is important to research which schools on your college list require the CSS Profile as part of their financial aid review.
Some institutions have their own financial forms which need to be completed in order to receive federal or institutional money. Public universities often times have a separate form to fill out in addition to the FAFSA. Visit the financial aid websites of your colleges to determine which forms are required.
Speak with your counselor about available scholarships.
** Be on the lookout for websites or scholarship services that charge money in order to apply for a scholarship. You should never pay to apply for scholarships!