Frequently Asked Questions
My parents are divorced or separated. Which parent completes the financial statement?
The parent with whom the student lived the most in the past year. If an equal amount of time was spent with each parent, provide the information for the parent who provided the most support during the past year.
My parent is remarried. Does my stepparent have to provide his/her income on my financial statement even if he/she is not legally obligated to help me with my decision?
Yes. In remarriage situations, both incomes must be reported for financial aid purposes.
What happens if my family’s situation changes after I file the original application?
Contact the financial aid officer at our selected institution for more information. In most cases you will be asked to send a letter that explains your situation and provide supporting documentation. Some reasons for contacting the institution’s financial aid office and the state to report changes after the financial statement was filed include: change in parents’ martial status, death of a parent, disability of a parent, loss of job/income, etc. (Be sure to put the student’s name and social security number on all correspondence.)
My parents will not help me finance my college education. Can I file as an independent student financial aid?
Lack of parent assistance alone does not make a student independent for financial aid purposes. Federal guidelines specifically indicate which students may file as independent. Review the information in this handbook for specific criteria. Check with the financial aid officer at the institution you plan to attend for further information or special circumstances.
Will my family be required to turn in any forms besides the financial statement?
Yes, You may be required to submit copies of your parents’ federal income tax returns. Families are advised to maintain a copy of federal tax return for this purpose. Colleges may also require that an institutional application form be completed for their aid and scholarship programs.
What happens to financial aid if I transfer from one school to another?
You will be required to reapply for financial aid at the second school. Aid is not automatically transferred from one school to another. Eligibility is based on availability of funding and school costs.
Is there any financial aid available for foreign study?
In some cases, financial aid may be available for international study. Contact the admissions office at the institution you plan to attend.
Is there financial aid available for graduate study?
Yes, both federal and state aid programs are available for graduate study. Review the federal and state program summaries in the handbook for specific programs. Contact the financial aid office and the graduate school at the college you plan to attend for information.
What are scholarship search organizations and can they help me find aid?
Scholarship search organizations attempt to identify sources of aid. Some search services are free, some charge a fee. Many of the sources of aid identified by these companies can be found through the college financial aid office or general resource books and pamphlets. Since scholarship search “scams” are known to exist, families who are interested in using these services are advised to carefully consider the following points.
- paying a fee does not insure a better search result
- carefully check the company’s guarantee
- beware of outlandish promises of access to “hidden” scholarships
- check references of previous customers’ satisfaction of services provided
- review the application for specific information about you that will target funds for your interests/skills
- check the Financial Aid Information website at www.finaid.org for scholarship search information
- consult with your high school counselor
How is financial aid paid to students?
Financial aid awards are usually applied to the student’s tuition and fees, and room/board charges first. Any remaining aid is then often awarded directly to students for use in meeting other expenses.
My sister/brother attends college this year and was not eligible for financial aid. Should I apply, since both of us will be in college?
Yes, Both you and your sister/brother should apply. The parent contribution is divided by the number of family members who are attending college at least half-time. With two in college, you may show increased eligibility for assistance. Since the application form is free, you can’t lose by applying.
Do my high school or college grades affect my eligibility for financial aid?
It is not necessary to have a specific grade point average in high school to be eligible for need-based aid. High school grades are, of course, a significant factor in awarding merit scholarships. To continue to receive aid in college, you must maintain academic progress. For details on the specific policy that may affect you, contact the financial aid administrator at the institution you will attend.