Financial Aid: Frequently Asked Questions
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Can I Attend Part-time, or Do I Have to Go Full-time to Get Financial Aid?
There is no minimum course load; you can register for as many or as few classes as you like. Part-time students are also eligible for financial aid (however, the amount awarded depends upon the number of units being taken.)
How Do I Apply?
Your first step in applying for aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Submit the FAFSA form as soon as possible on or after January 1. (Don't wait until you complete your tax return, but use estimates of income.) Any errors can be corrected later, and most states need to receive the FAFSA by March 1 to qualify for state aid.
The application can't be submitted before January 1, because the need analysis methodology for financial aid uses the income and tax information from the most recent tax year (the base year) to judge eligibility for need-based financial aid for the upcoming academic year (the award year). Since the base year ends December 31, a a financial aid application can't be submitted until January 1.
You can complete a paper application of the FAFSA or file electronically through the Internet. You can a get the paper FAFSA from the financial aid office at a local college, your local public library, or by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID. Filing on the Internet is the quickest way to get the FAFSA processed, and provides a helpful check for errors in completion. You will need to provide information regarding household size, income and assets. Follow directions carefully (if corrections are needed it can cause delays.)
If you choose the paper FAFSA, be sure to make copies and obtain a dated receipt for proof of mailing. If you need help, you do not need to pay someone to help you complete the FAFSA. The online FAFSA will guide you through each step of the application process. Help also be available from your school (contact your financial aid administrator), or you can call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-(800)4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).
Be sure to find out if the colleges you select use the CSS (College Scholarship Services) Financial Aid PROFILE in addition to the FAFSA. By completing one online form, you can apply for non-federal financial aid from nearly 400 colleges and scholarship programs.
For additional information on obtaining and completing the FAFSA, as well as helpful calculators and worksheets, visit our Financial Aid section.
What Happens After I File the
FAFSA (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid)?
The FAFSA will be processed by the U. S. Department of Education within
approximately four weeks, and a Student Aid Report (SAR) will be mailed
to you. This same information is also sent to the colleges you listed on the FAFSA. The SAR will contain
the information from your application, and if there are no errors or questions,
will provide your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), or what you will be
expected to pay toward your education. You can estimate your EFC by using
the many free calculators available
on the Internet.