Need Based Financial Aid
Most federal student aid is awarded on the basis of financial need. Need is the difference between your cost of education (educational expenses such as tuition, fees, room, board, books, supplies, and other expenses) and an amount you and your family are expected to contribute toward your education.
A standard formula used for all applicants determines this amount, which is called the Expected Family Contribution. If there is anything left over after subtracting the expected contribution from your cost of education, you are considered to have financial need.
The information you will be submitting on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used in determining your expected contribution. This process is called need analysis.
When to Begin:
As soon as your prior year income tax information is available, you are ready to apply for financial assistance. This should be done as early in January as possible.
Be sure to meet application deadlines.
Whom to First Contact:
Go to your high school counselor or contact the financial aid officer at the post secondary school you plan to attend.
Request assistance with the forms you will need for the school of your choice.
The Application Process:
You must complete and submit to the processor the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.This should be filed as soon after January 1 each year as possible.
When you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, you will be applying to determine eligibility for all Title IV federal student financial aid programs, the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship program, and the Tennessee Student Assistance Award program. This application requires no processing fee. A multi-part Student Aid Report will be sent to the applicant.
Some schools may require that an institutional supplement be completed in order to be considered for institutional awards that are non-federal. There may be a small processing fee for the student to pay to the processor. This would be identified in the packet of information received from the school.
Aid from federal and state programs does not automatically continue from one year to the next. You must reapply every year.