Financing Your Education at Your Next College
It’s Best to Apply for Admission and Financial Aid Simultaneously.
Applying for financial aid at your next school should happen simultaneously with applying for admission. Your parents may handle the majority of this process for you, but it is important that you understand the steps that are required.
- Every student that is applying for financial aid must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is a free form that should be completed and submitted online if possible. Submitting this form on paper will delay processing. There are many imposter websites out there that will charge you a fee to complete this form. DO NOT use a website that charges you a fee for filling out the FAFSA.
- Many colleges also require submission of the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE®. There is a fee for completing this form. Check with the financial aid office at the schools to which you are applying to see if this form is required. Again, submitting it online is preferable.
- Many institutions have their own forms, and some also require that you submit your most recent tax returns for income verification purposes. Check with the financial aid office at the schools to which you are applying to see if any additional forms are required.
Deadlines for submission of all financial aid materials vary by institution.
- For January admission, most places want your completed forms by the end of November.
- For August admission, the end of March is a good rule of thumb.
- Again, calling the financial aid office at the college you are applying to is the best way to gather this information.
Things to Know
- DO NOT wait to complete financial aid forms until you have been accepted. This could cause you to have less consideration for aid.
- You will not be awarded a financial aid package until you have been accepted.
- The government doesn't determine how much financial aid you receive; each individual institution does.
- All financial aid packages can be appealed.
- Don't hesitate to call (or have your parents call) the financial aid office of the colleges to which you are applying if you have any questions.