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Financial aid checklist for high school seniors


Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Preparing for college takes time and careful planning. One of the most important aspects of the college application process is making sure that financial aid deadlines are met and documents are completed correctly. In the frenzy of your senior year it might be helpful to follow this checklist to help you stay on top of important financial aid documents and deadlines.

Calculate your EFC: Most students are eligible for some kind of financial aid. While the amount of aid depends on a number of factors the main one is your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). This is the amount of money that you or your parents will be expected to contribute toward the cost of your education. You can calculate this figure at the student financial aid Web site FinAid.org.

Fill out the FAFSA: In January, you should fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Try to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1, as some financial aid, such as state- and college-based funding, is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

If any of your college applications require you to also fill out the College Scholarship Service's (CSS) PROFILE form, complete it as soon as possible and submit it by the deadline. It is worth noting that the CSS PROFILE can be submitted prior to January 1. The fee for the initial application and one college or program report is $25. Additional reports are $16.

Review the SAR: If you choose you fill out the FAFSA online, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) within three to five days after the FAFSA has been processed. The SAR is a summary of the information you provided on the FAFSA and includes your EFC. You will have the opportunity to change information in both the parent and student sections, which may be necessary if you or your parents had not filed your income taxes when you completed the FAFSA.

Regardless of whether you file online or by mail, your SAR will automatically be sent to your prospective colleges. Financial aid award letters, which tell you how much aid you will receive for the academic year, should begin arriving toward the end of March.

Accept an offer: The deadline for accepting an offer of admission is generally May 1. Prior to this date you may be asked to submit additional documentation for your financial aid package. Make sure you do that in a timely fashion. You will most likely receive your first bill for tuition over the summer.ADNFCR-16000756-ID-800896789-ADNFCR

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