Financial Aid Checklist

quick checklist in understanding what's needed for financial aid

Find below a summary checklist of items that student (and parents of students) need to complete in order to receive the financial aid options that are available.

Below are ten (10) quick checklist items that would get you through the process

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financial aid checklist

Complete College Tasks

If you are going to college, make sure you complete and submit the required documents. Deadlines include essay and application submissions, college visits, housing selection, and gathering those things for the move.

Our quick college planning calendar can help

(note: links to our companion site

financial aid checklist

How Much Will It Cost

How much will college cost? It depends on where you or your student will be going. Costs include tuition, housing, books, transportation and more

TIP: print our tally sheet to keep tabs on cost and the available aid that you get

Where is the Money Coming From

Billions of dollars are disbursed each year in financial aid for students. The largest percentage of disbursement is federal student loans loans (over 51%). The next largest percentage are grants. These are just some of the sources of financial aid.

Other aid for college includes:

  • scholarships
  • campus aid
  • private student aid and loans
  • family aid

financial aid checklist

Understand Aid Process

First comes the FAFSA form, then the SAR, and then the Financial Aid letter from your school. Link to our Financial Aid Step to view the process.

What is EFC?

EFC is the Expected Family Contribution for higher education. In other words, financial aid is awarded based on a formula that calculates the total cost of attending school and the expected family contribution to that cost. You can view more information under the financial aid steps.

financial aid checklist

FAFSA Form Submission

Almost all financial aid begins with your filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form is required for all Federal Student Loans and many college aid programs, including some scholarships. You can file the FAFSA form starting in January for the upcoming Fall academic year

What you will need to file:

  • tax returns
  • W-2 forms
  • bank statements
  • Social Security and VA Benefits, if any

visit FAFSA

financial aid checklist

Understand Types of Aid

Financial aid programs include grants, scholarships, loans, state programs, and other special aid. You can also view a summary chart of financial aid options at our companion site

Don't Forget Your Financial Aid Office

Your school's financial aid office is the control center for student financial aid. Talk with your college's financial aid office to see how they can help. Be prepared to ask questions such as:

  • What are the filing deadlines?
  • What forms are required?
  • What percentage of the college costs is covered by the financial aid award package?
  • Can the award package be negotiated?

financial aid checklist

Start Searching Scholarships

Scholarship awards can go fast, so start early — usually in the Fall prior to the start of your college year.

Check your field of study, ethnic background, social and religious affiliations, parent's employment, family club memberships, and local businesses and clubs:

View and apply for scholarships

(note: links to our companion site

financial aid checklist

About Federal Student Loans

Student loans are the most widely used form of financial aid. These loans are backed by the Federal Government to guarantee low-interest rate loans.

Graduates and professional students also qualify under the PLUS loan program to borrow up to the full cost of education. Deferment plans are available.

We have information about under government aid programs

financial aid checklist

Private Student Loans

Most financial aid awards do not cover the full cost of education. Many students are turning to private education loans and other alternative financing to finance their education.

These loans are not subject to Federal Government review and processing. You can get your money in as little as 5 business days from receipt of your completed application.

financial aid checklist

How Parents Can Help

Parents of undergraduate students can assist with their child's education by applying for the Federal PLUS loans. View PLUS loan information

Banker Home Equity Line of Credit

Parents or students with equity value in their home can use home equity loan to pay for college. Funds can be borrowed as they are needed — not all at once under most other loan programs.

Parents or students with steady working income can use the BLOC to manage their money and fund education expenses. The program benefits those with positive discretionary income that helps to keep funding costs low.

financial aid checklist

Managing Your Money

Money will be tight during school. You want to control spending and avoid unnecessary debt. View our recommendation on how to manage student funds while attending college.

Building Your Credit

Starting school brings on many new responsibilities like building a strong credit report and managing your credit payments. This will benefit you in the future for:

  • buying a home
  • finding a good career
  • keeping lending costs down
  • perhaps starting a business

View our complete credit and debt management tips including budgeting monthly expenses:
start with our credit management module

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