Category Archives: Parents

5 Things All Parents Need to Know About the FAFSA by Kristen Moon MoonPrep.com

College is a huge investment for many families and most need a little bit of financial help. If you are looking for ways to pay for college, one of the first resources you may turn to is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Every student qualifies for some form of student aid, so make sure you are not skipping this step during your application process. Over the past couple of decades, the Department of Education has streamlined the application process, but questions can still arise. If you or your child are applying to a college, here are five essential things you need to know about the FAFSA.

  1. What is FAFSA?
    The FAFSA is an annual form filled out by current and prospective college students in the United States to determine their eligibility for student aid. It can be filled out by undergraduate and graduate students. The FAFSA can determine your eligibility for grants such as the Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEC), federal work-study programs, loans, and scholarships.
  2. What information does the FAFSA provide you with?
    The FAFSA provides you with two critical pieces of information. The first is Expected Family Contribution (EFC) which is an index number that the financial aid department uses to determine how much financial aid a student would receive if you attend that particular school. The information you report on the FAFSA is used to calculate the EFC. The EFC is then calculated according to a formula established by law.The second piece of information is the Cost of Attendance (COA) which is the amount it will cost a student to go to school. Most colleges and universities will calculate a student’s COA to show the total costs of attending the school. Typically, the COA is an estimate of tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, miscellaneous expenses, childcare, disability or any reasonable costs for study-abroad programs.

     

  3. Does everyone need to complete the FAFSA?
    The short answer is, yes, you do. By not filling out the FAFSA, you are missing out on a good deal provided by the U.S. Department of Education. Students could be eligible for federal and state grants that do not to be repaid. Or they could be eligible for low-interest student loans and work-study programs, helping them to fund their education and build their resumes. Every student qualifies for some form of student aid.
  4. How do I complete the FAFSA?
    The FAFSA website is fafsa.ed.gov. Students will need their social security number, alien registration number (for non-U.S. citizens), federal income tax returns, W2s, and other records of money earned. These include bank statements and investment records, untaxed income records, and the student and parent’s FSA ID to sign the document electronically.
  5. What is the deadline?
    The deadline for the FAFSA is June 30th. The application opens October 1st, and you should complete it as soon as possible because many grants and scholarships are on a first-come-first-serve basis. Most schools have funds that are limited, so students have a better chance of receiving those funds, if eligible, when their FAFSA is submitted early.

About the author:

Kristen Moon is an independent college counselor and founder of MoonPrep.com. Moon Prep provides one-on-one college counseling services. They guide students through the entire application process including completing the FAFSA.

Prepare Now: 3 Tips For an Early Start on College Prep By Emma Sturgis

Middle school marks many milestones for students, including first school dances, first battles with acne and many other rites of passage. It’s also the time when you should start preparing your child for college. Although it may seem early, college preparation is a multifaceted process that takes several years to complete. Starting early allows your student to satisfy admission requirements easily so they can enjoy their senior year without worry.

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Five metrics you don’t want to miss when researching colleges

tips on researching collegesIt’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sea of data that you’ll find on college websites, but what’s really important to you? Often it comes down to key facts: What are the costs? And what will I get for all that money? To that end, we put together a quick list of questions you should be able to answer before applying to college: Continue reading

How can I find out how safe a campus is?

campus securityThe last thing you want to have to worry about if your son or daughter is headed to college is their safety. So how can you tell if the schools they’re considering are a safe place to live? Here are some basic tips to help put you at ease.

Research campus safety statistics. Federal law requires that colleges and universities disclose any crimes that have occurred on campus.

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