Senior Financial Aid Night 2017
There will be a financial aid night on Thursday, November 9th at 6:00 in the auditorium to go over the basics of financial aid. All seniors and their parents are encouraged to attend. Two $50 scholarships will be given out in a drawing and all seniors in attendance are eligible.
REMINDER: A CHANGE FOR 2018 GRADUATES…Instead of filing a FAFSA beginning January 1 using estimated (or completed) financial information from the year prior, students and families will be able to apply for financial aid starting October 1, 2017 for the 2018-2019 school year. Just one year ago, President Obama made an executive action to allow students to file their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) earlier. Because of this earlier timeframe, students will also use 2015 tax information to complete their 2018-2019 FAFSA. Applicants will still use to-date information regarding personal and family information, such as number of family members, number in college and parental marital status. This timing adjustment better aligns the admissions and financial aid processes, and gives students and parents more time to make informed decisions about attending college.
UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA
Applying for Financial Aid
Financial Aid Glossary of Terms
Financial Aid has its own vocabulary. To help you speak the lingo, here is a site with a glossary of commonly used terms and acronyms. http://www.finaid.org/questions/glossary.phtml
This site allows you to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submit it for processing online http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/
THE ABC’s OF FINANCING A COLLEGE EDUCATION
If you are the proud parent of a student who will start college this fall, chances are you’ve been trying to figure out how the two of you are going to pay for that college degree. Fortunately, financial help is available. Financial aid can help pay for tuition, books, room and board, and many of the other costs of higher education.
Financial aid to meet a student’s educational expenses is available in four basic categories. Usually students finance their education through a package combining aid from several categories.
Scholarships are awarded based on special ability, academic achievement; religious, ethnic background or special interest and they don’t have to be repaid. Scholarships come from many sources, but the student may have to do some detective work to uncover them. Most states and many colleges offer scholarships, so don’t forget to inquire about them. College financial aid officers and high school guidance counselors can help direct you to resources outlining programs and requirements. Local library and on-line websites are also good places to look at. This information should be free.
Grants are awarded based on need and, like scholarships, they don’t have to be repaid. In addition to state and institutional grants, there are two federal grants for which students can apply:
Federal Pell Grants are awarded to part-time and full-time undergraduate students who show financial need.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants are a supplement to Pell Grants.
Work study is a federal program offering part-time jobs both on and off campus. The amount that can be earned is based on several factors, including need, other aid received and availability of school funds. Work study funds don’t have to be repaid because work is traded for hourly wages.
Educational Loans are funds borrowed from a financial institution or federal or state government. Education loans must be repaid. There are at least three types of education loans:
Federal Family Education Loans/Federal Direct Loans include Federal Stafford Loans and Federal PLUS Loans. They are available through financial institutions such as U.S. Bank who participate in the FFEL program or through the federal government in the Direct Loan program. The maximum annual interest rate is 8.25%.
Financial institution (or “private”) loans are for students or parents of students who attend participating colleges and graduate schools.
Finally, if grants, scholarships, work study, and government loans don’t cover expenses, students may apply for a low-interest private education loan from a financial institution such as U.S. Bank. The U.S. Bank Education Loan, for example, is a nonfederal loan for students who attend participating colleges and graduate schools. This type of loan can be used as a supplement or replacement for federal loans.
Luckily, virtually any student who wants to go to college can go, regardless of family income. The key is to apply for as many scholarships and grants as possible and apply for financial aid as early as possible, since most financial aid is awarded on a first-come-first-served basis. And one last thing--even if you think the student in your family won’t qualify for financial aid, he or she should try anyway. There may be more options than you think.
Financial aid is a national program from federal and state moneys. Family income, assets, and expenses determine eligibility. Families apply for financial aid using a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (F.A.F.S.A.). The federal government uses this form to determine your eligibility for financial aid, which includes: scholarships, grants, work-study, and loans. Financial aid must be applied for after January 1st for the following years. Check individual schools for priority deadlines.
FAFSA Phone Number: 1-800-4FED-AID (1-800-433-3243)
To apply on-line: www.fafsa.gov
The financial aid information session is designed to explain and assist in the application process. These sessions are offered each year at area colleges/high schools. Information about these sessions will be posted in the announcements.
Reciprocity is a program that allows Minnesota students attending colleges in Wisconsin, North Dakota, or South Dakota to pay in-state tuition. All applications will be available on the website www.mheso.state.mn.us. We encourage all students to use the web application. Students are able to apply online and know immediately if they are approved. They can print off an approval letter to show their college and keep for their records.
Midwest Student Exchange Program [MSEP] is a tuition reduction program that makes attending out-of-state colleges and universities more affordable for non-resident students. Nearly one hundred colleges and universities in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wisconsin have opened their doors to each others’ citizens by offering reduced tuition rates.
Learn more at http://msep.mhec.org or call 612-677-2777
Q: Will FAFSA applicants have an option to use tax year 2016 income and tax information?
A: No. Beginning with the 2017-2018 FAFSA, students and parents will be required to use income and tax information from the 2015 tax year. However, a financial aid administrator (FAA) may use professional judgment to change any of the income or tax items by using the 2015 (or any other recent 12 month period) income and tax information, if the FAA determines that there are extenuating circumstances that justify the use of information other than the 2015 tax year information. [April 12, 2016]
Q: Will the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) be available when the FAFSA start-up begins on October 1, 2016? Similarly, will the IRS be ready to accept IRS tax return transcript requests on October 1, 2016?
A: Yes to both. The IRS DRT will be available when the 2017-2018 FAFSA processing begins on October 1. Additionally, we have been assured by the IRS that it will be prepared to respond to IRS tax return transcript requests on and after October 1, 2016. [April 12, 2016]
Q: Will institutions have to review all of their students 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 FAFAS records to determine if there might be conflicting information because the two FAFSAs (2016-2017 and 2017-2018) are completed using the same 2015 income and tax information?
A: No. To reduce burden on both institutions and FAFSA applicants, the federal Central Processing System (CPS) will, when processing an applicant’s 2017-2018 FAFSA, perform an automatic review when there is also a 2016-2017 FAFSA on file for the applicant. This review will determine if there might be conflicting information between the two FAFSAs. The CPS will flag for institutional resolution only those 2017-2018 applications where any potential conflict, once resolved, would have a significant impact on the student’s 2017-2018 EFC. The most effective way to prevent conflicting information from occurring is for the FAFSA filers to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) when completing both their 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 FAFSAs. [April 12, 2016]
Q: Will the 2017-2018 FAFSA (either initial or renewal) be pre-populated with information from the applicant’s 2016-2017 FAFSA?
A: No. There are too many instances where pre-populating would result in incorrect information included on the 2017-2018 FAFSA (e.g., changes in dependency status, changes in marital status). However, most 2017-2018 FAFSA filers who filed a 2015 federal income tax return will be able to use the IRS DRT to import their 2015 tax information directly from the IRS into their 2017-2018 FAFSA. The IRS DRT is the fastest and most accurate way to input tax information into the FAFSA and will dramatically reduce the likelihood that the applicant will be selected for verification. [April 12, 2016]
Q: Currently, if a student begins but does not complete a FAFSA, the partial application is saved for 45 days. Will the Department of Education save 2017-2018 FAFSA data that has not been submitted longer than the current 45-day limit?
A: No. The Department will not store FAFSA data that has not been submitted to the Department longer than the current 45-day limit. [June 6, 2016]