Financial Aid

Financial Aid

Financial aid is money used to help pay for college or career school. Aid can come from:


On Sept. 14, 2015, President Obama announced significant changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) process that will impact millions of students. Starting with the 2017-18 application cycle, the following changes will be put in place:

  • Students will be able to submit a FAFSA® earlier. Students will be able to file a 2017-18 FAFSA as early as Oct. 1, 2016, rather than beginning on Jan. 1, 2017. The earlier submission date will be a permanent change, enabling students to complete and submit a FAFSA as early as October 1 every year. (There is NO CHANGE to the 2016-17 schedule. The FAFSA became available January 1 as in previous years.)
  • Students will use earlier income information. Beginning with the 2017-18 FAFSA, students will be required to report income information from an earlier tax year. For example, on the 2017-18 FAFSA, students (and parents, as appropriate) will report their 2015 income information, rather than their 2016 income information.

The following table provides a summary of key dates as we transition to using the early FAFSA submission timeframe and earlier tax information.

2017-18-fafsa-process-changes


Be certain to follow the timeline as to deadlines.  One important deadline is the completion of your families IRS tax return as early as possible during the year you intend to enroll in college.  The tax return is critical in submitting for many sources of financial aid.

Besides financial aid, you also should think about what you can do to lower your costs when you go to college.

Aid and Other Resources From the Federal Government

The federal government offers a number of financial aid programs. Besides aid from the U.S. Department of Education (discussed below), you also might get

The U.S. Department of Education awards about $150 billion a year in grants, work-study funds, and low-interest loans to more than 14 million students. Federal student aid covers such expenses as tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. Aid also can help pay for other related expenses, such as a computer and dependent care. Thousands of schools across the country participate in the federal student aid programs; ask the schools you are interested in whether they do!

Federal student aid includes:

  • Grants—financial aid that does not have to be repaid (unless, for example, you withdraw from school and owe a refund)
  • Loans— borrowed money for college or career school; you must repay your loans, with interest
  • Work-Study—a work program through which you earn money to help you pay for school

Use FAFSA4caster to get an estimate of how much aid you might receive from the U.S. Department of Education.

Apply for federal student aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSASM).  And remember, the first F in “FAFSA” stands for “free”—you should not pay to fill out the FAFSA! 

Aid From Your State Government

Even if you are not eligible for federal aid, you might be eligible for financial aid from your state. Visit http://www.pheaa.org for more information about PA financial aid.

Aid From Your College or Career School

Many colleges offer financial aid from their own funds. Find out what might be available to you:

  • Visit your school’s financial aid page on its website, or ask someone in the financial aid office.
  • Ask at the department that offers your course of study; they might have a scholarship for students in your major.
  • Fill out any applications the school requires for its own aid, and meet the deadlines.

Aid From a Nonprofit or Private Organization

Many organizations offer scholarships or grants to help students pay for college. This free money can make a real difference in how affordable your education is.

Source: http://studentaid.ed.gov

Financial Aid

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