The Financial Aid Process
Finding financial aid can seem overwhelming when you’re trying to get ready for college or career school. The U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid is here to help you get the money you need to pay for your education.
Scholarships and state aid can help cover the cost of college or career school, but you may find yourself in need of federal assistance.
SAVINGS: Begin saving early.
SCHOLARSHIPS: Look for scholarships through your state or college as well as national and community organizations.
It’s time to apply for financial aid.
The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and is the only way to apply for federal student aid. The schools you list on your application will use FAFSA information to evaluate your financial need and determine how much federal aid you are eligible to receive. Many states and colleges also use information from your FAFSA to provide their own financial aid.
Each October, the FAFSA is available for the next school year. It is best to fill it out as early as you can because some aid is first come, first served.
When you complete the FAFSA, you’ll need to provide personal and tax information. You may be able to automatically retrieve your tax information from the IRS.
Complete the FAFSA online at fafsa.gov. Make sure to fill out and submit the FAFSA each year you are in college.
After you submit your FAFSA, you’ll receive your Student Aid Report (SAR). Your SAR summarizes the information in your FAFSA. Review it and make corrections if needed.
Your FAFSA helps your school determine the types of federal student aid you are eligible to receive.
Types of Federal Student Aid
As the largest provider of financial aid, the U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid provides grants, loans, and work-study funds.
Grants: Grants are free money that do not have to be repaid.
Work-Study: A work-study job gives you the opportunity to earn money to help pay your educational expenses.
Your award letter explains the combination of federal grants, loans, and work-study a college is offering you. The offer might also contain state and institutional aid. If you receive award letters from multiple colleges or career schools, you should compare them and decide which school works best for you.
Workforce: When you take the time to plan for your education and let Federal Student Aid help you along the way, you’ll be setting the foundation for a bright future and success in the workforce.
Repayment: Once you leave school, you will need to repay your student loans. Contact your loan servicer to discuss your repayment options.
What steps do you need to take to apply for Financial Aid?
If you are planning to attend a 2 year or 4 year school in NC, the first thing you need to do is create a CFNC account and establish your NC Residency. That RCN number- Residency Certification Number- is what grants you in-state tuition. In addition, the information you provide to get that RCN number is pretty much the same information you will need to start on your FAFSA- Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
The steps for Financial Aid are easy- RDS, FAFSA ID and FAFSA. Check out this link to see exactly what you need to get started.
Need more help to create your FAFSA ID?
Criteria and instructions for applying for the scholarships listed on the bulletin will be clearly explained. It is vital that students read and follow directions!
Questions about scholarships posted on the bulletin can be emailed to counselors.
Another great site is CFNC- these are all based in NC.
Local scholarships are usually easier to get than national scholarships just because there is less competition. You may find some national scholarships that you are interested in applying for- these are two reputable sites.More ScholarshipsFASTWEB scholarship listingGoing Merry Scholarship Listing