College Funding

Step 6 : Getting Organized for Financial Aid

Getting Orgazined for Financial Aid Season
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Getting Organized

When to Get Started on College Funding

  • Get started immediately

Financial Aid

  • Take an inventory of all the colleges your student is planning on applying to
  • CSS Profile and FAFSA are the two most common forms that a college would ask for in the beginning of the financial aid process
  • Check college websites for all dates, deadlines, and what forms are required

CSS Profile

  • CSS Profile – This form is required for most schools that use the institutional methodology. This form directs all the questions to your student. Please do not let your student complete this form. This form is lengthy and asks a lot of detailed questions. Be certain you answer them correctly. This form really gets at looking at your full financial picture. If you are divorced/separated some of the schools could ask for the non-custodial parent to complete the non-custodial parent profile, meaning they’re going to count the income and assets of your ex or soon-to be ex-spouse to some degree. Some of the schools that require the CSS Profile could also ask for you to submit your financial documents (tax returns, W-2s, etc.) through the IDOC system. Just be prepared to provide schools that use this form with a lot of your financial information.
  • CSS Profile opens up typically between September and October of the student’s senior year
  • If your student is applying early action or early decision, CSS Profile will be required about the same time that they submit their applications

FAFSA

  • FAFSA – Every school will require you to complete this form in order to be considered for financial aid. Go towww.fafsa.ed.gov for more information. This is a self-reporting form, be sure to read through ALL the instructions. Most people begin the FAFSA, get tired of reading the instructions, starting estimating it, and then make mistakes. Don’t be one of them.
  • Opens up every January 1st
  • When it opens up, log in and create a username and a profile and start imputing basic student and financial information
  • Typically colleges will request this anywhere between late January to early March
  • Estimate the figures in the beginning when you initially submit it
  • Try to get your tax returns done by mid to late February because you’ll need your final tax return numbers to update the FAFSA after your student has been accepted to the college

Admission Notification

  • Should receive admission notification by February to end of March
  • After your student has been accepted, log into their student portal for the college and check under the “Financial Aid” section to see if the college has received everything or are requesting additional documents
  • Often times financial aid awards are not given until all requirements have been met
  • Check in with the financial aid office and ask when you should receive an official financial aid award
  • Make sure you get financial aid awards in advance before you make any decisions so you can make any corrections or negotiate for additional aid if necessary
  • Students will need to submit Intent to Enroll by May 1st
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