December 22, 2000
Tis the season to be jolly, and for many families with seniors in high school, it's also the season to get busy with financial aid applications for college.
Experts at ACT offer the following information to help families find the resources they need to complete their financial aid paperwork.
The most important form is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA determines eligibility for student financial aid from federal programs. Colleges and universities also use the FAFSA, but may also required students to fill out additional forms. Families can begin submitting their FAFSA forms any time after Jan. 1 when they have the necessary income statements from the previous year to complete the form.
The FAFSA, available from high school counselors or at www.fafsa.ed.gov. collects information that is used to determine how much the family is expected to contribute toward the student's education (Expected Family Contribution, or EFC). Families usually receive a Student Aid Report three to four weeks after submitting the FAFSA form. It will summarize the data reported on the application. (Families can get estimates of what their EFC may be and the costs of attending specific institutions by using ACT's Financial Aid Need Estimator at www.act.org/fane.)
Families can find information on more than 600,000 scholarship totaling more than $1.6 billion at www.collegenet.com. This website provides a broad search of scholarships or a list of scholarships by category such as age, academics, ethnicity, interests, nationality or sports. Students also can apply online for the scholarships. For additional opportunities, including local scholarships, please see your school counselor.
Financial Aid tips from ACT:
*Apply early for admission and financial aid.
* Check with your college to determine if other financial aid forms are required.
* Apply for scholarships and grants.
* Look into Work Study programs.
* Surf the web for financial aid information.
* Try these websites:
Financial Aid Need Estimator and financial aid information --www.act.org/fane
Free scholarship search --www.collegenet.com
The Financial Aid Information Page --www.finaid.org
The Federal Government Financial Aid Page --www.ed.gov/finaid.htm1
Free Application for Federal Student Aid --www.fafsa.ed.gov
College Scholarship Search --www.collegenet.com
Scholarship scams --www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/scholarship