Financial Aid Primer
What is Financial Aid? There are two categories of financial aid:
Within each of these categories of financial aid, there are two types:
How do I find out about Financial Aid? Early planning is essential. It is never too early to start, but the beginning of the junior year in high school is the recommended time to start looking. If you are already in college, it is not too late to start looking.
What about paying for Scholarship Searches? Since there are some excellent scholarship searches that are free, paying is not recommended. However, if you do pay for a search, buyers beware. Read the fine print.
How do I find out about Scholarships if I do not have access to a Computer? The public library is the answer. Most libraries have access to the internet and reference manuals that cover various financial aid programs. Investing an hour or so will probably yield programs that you may be eligible to apply. Commercial bookstores also have scholarship and financial aid manuals or computer disks.
How do I qualify for Financial Aid? In order to qualify for financial aid, the following is required:
What do SAR and EFC Mean? SAR is your Student Aid Report. This is the document that is received after a student completes the FAFSA. It contains the information that was entered on the FAFSA, instructions for correction of errors, and eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant and other federal financial aid. Your first choice school may want you to submit your SAR to the financial aid office. Check with the financial aid office. For duplicate SARs call 319-337-5665.
EFC is expected family contribution. The information entered on the FAFSA will be used in a formula that determines the amount that the family (student and/or parents) is expected to contribute to the cost of attendance.
What is Cost of Attendance (COA)? COA is the total amount it will cost a student to go to school for one year (two-semesters or three-quarters). It includes tuition, fees, books, on campus room and board (or off campus housing and food allowance), transportation, and miscellaneous expenses. The financial aid office at colleges or universities is responsible for determing COA.
How is Financial Need Defined? Financial need is the difference between Cost of Attendance and Expected Family Contribution. Schools use financial need to determine the amount of need-based assistance that a student is eligible for.
How much Financial Aid is available? Financial aid will vary at each school, but nationally, based on the latest data available, the following aid categories were awarded:
Note: Nearly 70% of the student aid awarded each year comes from the U. S. Department of Education program.
Twelve Useful Tips for Financial Aid Survival.