Presentation on theme: "Applying for Financial Aid 2015 - 2016 Pat Barton Director of Financial Aid Clayton State University."— Presentation transcript:
Applying for Financial Aid Pat Barton Director of Financial Aid Clayton State University
Topics What is financial aid Basic types of financial aid Terminology Application process Common mistakes made on the FAFSA Common questions
What is financial aid? Financial Aid: Funds provided to students and families to help pay both direct and indirect postsecondary education expenses
Terminology Student Aid Report (SAR): Results of the FAFSA Expected Family Contribution (EFC): – Amount family can reasonably be expected to contribute – Calculated using data from the FAFSA – Remains the same regardless of college – Determines Pell Grant eligibility – Used to determine “financial need" for need-based aid
Terminology Cost of Attendance (COA): – Estimated cost of attending college – Includes estimated amounts for both direct and indirect costs such as tuition, fees, books, transportation, etc. – Components mandated by the Dept. of Ed. – Amounts vary by institution – Used to determine “financial need”
Cost of Attendance vs. Actual Costs Estimated COA Estimated Expenses Fall/Spring Tuition/Fees 6,132 Room/Board 9,570 Books/Supplies 1,302 Transportation 510 Miscellaneous 2,500 Loan Fees 130 ______ Total Estimated Cost $20,144 *Based on academic year (Fall/Spring) combined. May vary based on different categories of students such as in-state, out-of-state, on-campus, off- campus, with relative, undergraduate, graduate, etc. Usually based on average costs, not actual. Actual Costs Direct Costs Fall Spring Tuition/Fees 3,039 3,039 Housing 2,871 2,871 Meal Plan 1,695 1,695 Books (est.) _____ _____ Total Cost $8,105 $8,105 *Based on semester charges ($16,210 for academic year). Nearly $4,000 less than COA.
Terminology Financial Need – COA – EFC = Financial Need –M–Must have financial need to receive any need-based aid including Pell, SEOG, Work-Study, and Federal Direct Subsidized Loans* –N–Not required for merit-based aid such as HOPE/Zell Miller or for Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans or Parent PLUS Loans* –*–*Borrow conservativel y!
Terminology Verification – FAA required to verify information submitted on the FAFSA – Requires documentation be submitted to the institution (Copy of tax return not acceptable – use DRT or IRS Tax Return Transcript) – Indicated on the SAR by * after the EFC – Institution may also select files for verification – Institution should notify students of specific documents required
Things to consider… Federal AidState Aid Pell Grant SEOG TEACH Grant (Loan) Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant Direct Subsidized Loan Direct Unsubsidized Loan Direct Parent PLUS Loan Federal Work-Study Zell Miller Scholarship HOPE Scholarship HOPE Grant Student Access Loan (SAL or SALT) Other scholarships and grants with very specific criteria… (Some scholarships and grants no longer funded.) Basic Types of Financial Aid
Things to consider… Basic Types of Financial Aid
Application Process FAFSA Free Application for Federal Student Aid
FAFSA Required for ALL federal aid including federal student loans FAFSA on the Web (FAOW) simplified logic ‘Help and Hints’ popup for almost every question FAFSA.ED.GOV – Link to PIN site (New FSA ID/Password coming later…) – Link to helpful videos – School Code Search
IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) Allows students and parents to download IRS tax information directly to the FAFSA Best way of ensuring accurate tax data May significantly reduce the chance of being selected for verification If selected, should not need to provide tax transcript to the school Not all students and parents will be eligible to use DRT
IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) When can I download my tax information from the IRS? According to the IRS…. – Tax information filed electronically will be available for download within 2 to 3 weeks – Tax information filed by paper form will be available within 8 to 11 weeks
FAFSA Changes Parent Marital Status – Both legal parents’ information included on FAFSA regardless of marital status if living together – May now select, “Unmarried and both parents living together” – Legal parent (birth/adoptive parents)
FAFSA Changes Same-Sex Marriage – Result of the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) – Considered married if student/parents married in a state or country that recognizes same-sex marriage – New language – Parent 1/Parent 2 vs. Father/Mother
FAFSA Changes Tax Filing Status – Now required to report tax filing status – System will compare to marital status – Filing “Head of Household” not acceptable when married – IRS Publication 17 Clarifies who can file “Head of Household” Defines “Married or Considered Married” – Incorrect reporting/filing on FAFSA and to IRS problematic
Common Mistakes - FAFSA
7 Common Mistakes from ED.gov BLOG 1.Not Completing the FAFSA 2.Not Being Prepared (checklist) 3.Not Reading Carefully 1.Household Size: Specific guidelines are provided on who should be included. 2.Income Tax: Income tax is not the same as income or income tax withheld. 3.Legal Guardianship: Definition does not include parents even if appointed by a court. You are not considered a legal guardian of yourself even if you pay your own bills.
Common Mistakes - FAFSA 4.Inputting Incorrect Information 1.Wrong Name (yes seriously): Common errors include reversing first/last names and not using legal name. 2.Wrong SSN: Common errors include putting parent SSN in place of student SSN, transposing numbers, using wrong child’s SSN. 5.Not Reporting Parent Information 1.Must report even if you pay your own bills, file your own taxes, etc. 2.Parent refusal to provide data is not sufficient to make you independent. 3.Dependency guidelines for federal aid are different than those of the IRS.
Common Mistakes - FAFSA 6.Not Using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) 7.Not Signing the FAFSA 1.Must sign FAOW with PIN and submit. 2.Both student and parent must sign if dependent. 3.Confirm by checking your status immediately after submitting.
Common Mistakes - FAFSA Other Common Mistakes… Including a child as a dependent when the student’s parents actually provide more than 50% of the support Reporting the incorrect marital status (single when married) Not reading your Student Aid Report (SAR) Not following up with schools Not asking questions
HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarship Letter indicating HOPE Scholar is not sufficient for payment Funds are not available until the institution awards the funds HOPE is only paid after GSFC calculates the final GPA and the High School verifies Do not assume HOPE will be in place – CHECK with your school HOPE does not pay for remedial classes
HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarship College GPA required to keep the HOPE Scholarship – 3.0 College GPA required to keep the Zell Miller Scholarship – 3.3 May regain eligibility one time Eligibility checked after every spring semester and at 30, 60, 90 attempted hours. Expires 7 years from high school graduation.
There are no silly questions! If in doubt, ask the Financial Aid Office. Some common questions we often get…
Common Questions Should I wait until I apply for admission to the college before I complete the FAFSA? NO It may be too late!
Do I have to reapply for financial aid every year? YES!
Common Questions Must I be enrolled full-time to receive financial aid? – No. Pell Grant and other federal grants may be prorated according to Department of Education’s calculation if a student is less than full-time. Student loan eligibility mandates that a student be enrolled for at least half-time (6 semester hours). – HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarship will pay a specific rate per credit hour for tuition regardless of the number of hours a student is enrolled (non- remedial classes only). (Public Institutions) – Other scholarships may have a full-time requirement such as Honors
Common Questions Do I have to use my parents’ income even if they don’t support me? There are 13 specific questions on the FAFSA that determine dependency status. If you answer NO to all thirteen, you must provide parent information. If you answer yes, you may be required to provide documentation for certain questions. Special Circumstances - – Allows you to complete the FAFSA without parent info if you are unable to provide parent information due to extenuating circumstances – May be able to receive Unsubsidized Loans only – no other federal aid – No EFC calculated, so financial need is not determined
Common Questions Not all situations are considered a special circumstance sufficient for a dependency override. The following are situations that would not be considered a special circumstance for this purpose: – Your parents do not want to provide their information on your FAFSA – Your parents refuse to contribute to your college expenses – Your parents do not claim you as a dependent on their income taxes – You do not live with your parents – You are self-supporting
Common Questions What is the difference in a grant and a loan? – Grants do not normally need to be repaid and are usually referred to as ‘gift aid”. Loans must be repaid by either the student or the parent depending on the type of loan. – Read information carefully for each grant you receive. – TEACH Grant becomes an Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan, including retroactive interest, if all requirements are not met.
Common Questions I do not qualify for Pell or HOPE and I do not want to take out loans. What else can I do? – Check the institutional websites for scholarship opportunities and apply by the deadline dates. – Check out free scholarship search sites. (Clayton State’s Financial Aid website has links to several free search engines.) – Check with employers, churches, civic organizations, etc.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) – All schools that administer federal aid are required to have a policy and procedure to measure academic progress for students receiving federal aid. – Only college courses are used in the SAP calculation. – Some schools check progress at the end of the first year while most check after each semester.
Looking Ahead…… – Normal SAP Policy Minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA Minimum completion ratio of 67% Maximum attempted hours 150% of program – Policy may differ slightly by institution – SAP also required for HOPE and Zell Miller – You can have a 4.0 and lose financial aid! (Watch those withdrawals.)
FERPA FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 OR attends a school beyond the high school level. Student information is available online at most institutions with the appropriate ID/Password or student can sign waiver. You didn’t hear this from me, but….