Financial Aid Timeline and Checklist For Fall, Winter & Summer Spring

"Financial Aid Timeline and Checklist For Fall, Winter & Summer Spring" submitted by SchoolGrantsfor Editorial Team and last updated on Monday 9th January 2012

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Education is an investment in you! Whether you’re planning to go to college or get job training, many programs are available to help you cover the costs. Financial aid covers more than tuition, fees and books. It can also help you pay for rent, food, transportation costs and other living expenses. Plus, you don’t have to go to school full time to receive financial aid.

But remember—you should first check out money that you don’t have to repay, usually in the form of grants and scholarships. Grants are money you don’t have to pay back and are usually based on financial need. Scholarships are also free money for college and are usually based on your area of study or merit, such as good grades, special talent or community service. Work-Study or Student Employment Programs let you earn money for college in a job on or off campus.

Loans are borrowed money that you must repay, usually with interest. If you do need to borrow, there are federal loans that offer low interest rates and other benefits.

Look into ways to cut your college costs. Consider starting at a community college, becoming an AmeriCorps volunteer to earn an education award or taking Advanced Placement courses in high school for college credit so you graduate sooner and save on tuition. Your school counselor or career center should be your first stop. Then browse the Web—you’ll find a list of helpful sites on the back cover.

Applying for financial aid is free; simply complete the FAFSA. You should apply for financial aid every year, from your senior year of high school through your senior year in college—and even beyond, if you’re headed to graduate school.

Financial aid timeline and checklist For Fall Semester

Financial Aid Timeline and Checklist For Winter Semester

Financial Aid Timeline and Checklist For Summer Spring

Your first step to getting money for college is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. Some financial aid offered by your state or college may require you to submit additional information or applications. Apply early and meet deadlines because financial aid funds are often limited. Also explore private scholarships, tax credits and other options— if your college offers a plan that will let you spread your payments over the school year. Your school counselor or career center is a good place to start. Also, browse the Web, starting with the sites listed on the back cover.

You should know:
Financial aid can cover more than tuition and books. The cost of paying rent, eating and getting from one place to another adds up. Luckily, most state and federal grants and scholarships, as well as federal loans, take that into account.

College isn’t just for the wealthy. You don’t have to attend full time to receive financial aid. You can use your federal Pell Grant and other aid if you only go to college half time. Even if you take one or two classes, you may still be able to use your Pell Grant.

Money is set aside for foster youth. If you are or were in foster care, you may be eligible for thousands of dollars a year for college or job training on top of any other financial aid you receive. See page 5.

You don’t need to be a U.S. citizen to receive financial aid—and your parents don’t need to be citizens either. The majority of U.S. permanent residents and other eligible noncitizens qualify for most federal and state aid. If you’re an undocumented or under- documented student, you aren’t eligible for state or federal aid, but in some states you may qualify for in-state tuition rates at public colleges.

Completing the FAFSA is not as difficult as it may first appear. The form is available in English and Spanish, and has step-by-step instructions; ask your school for help. You can also attend a free college application workshop. For dates and locations, go to

Apply for financial aid early, even before finding out if you’ve been accepted to college. Otherwise, you may miss out on scholarships, grants and other free money for education.

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