Steps to fund your college education:
- Apply for scholarships and grants early. Check with your High School and/or College, community organizations, and foundations. Take advantage of free scholarship search engines.
- Apply for government aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The FAFSA should be completed as soon after January 1st, of the year you intend to start school in the fall. For more information on the FAFSA, check out our FAFSA Tips.
- Once your FAFSA has been processed you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) either by mail or email. The information on the SAR is what you submitted on the FAFSA. If any changes or corrections need to be made, you will be required to submit those changes to the Department of Education by following the directions provided in the email or mail packet.
- Schools you have been accepted to and who have received your FAFSA information will put together a financial aid package for you. The school will then notify you of your financial aid eligibility. You may be eligible for student loans, scholarships, grants, and federal work-study.
- You will be required to accept or deny your financial aid package by the school’s deadline. If you accept Stafford or PLUS student loans as a part of your financial aid package, you will be required to complete a loan application or master promissory note (MPN).
- Your lender (Department of Education) will process your application and request that your school certify your eligibility and enrollment. In addition, your school will set the disbursement dates for your loan.
- Once your loan has been processed, your lender will send the disbursement to the school based on the schedule the school requested.
- Your school will apply all scholarship, grant, and loan funds to tuition, fees, and other expenses. They will notify you when the remaining funds will be available for you.
- If you have excess funds and do not need the total loan amount borrowed from your lender, you should return the loans funds immediately. By doing so, you will keep your student loan debt to a minimum and lessen the financial burden you must repay once you graduate from school.
- If you need additional money for education related expenses you can apply for a private loan. Private loans are based on credit and carry a higher interest rate than federal student loans.