The most difficult aspect of college has to do with the finances required. Although there is a very small percentage of people who are fortunate enough to have money or family with money for a college education, the majority of people depend on a variety of sources. For instance, some students use personal money coupled with student loans. Some students qualify for one or more scholarships. Then, there are other students who depend on government funding in the way of federal grants.
Because there are several different financial aid awards, it is common for students to feel either confused or overwhelmed, especially those just entering college. If this is your case, the information provided will help clear some things up. We wanted to take this opportunity to provide an evaluation of a financial aid award so you can see the process and outcome.
Okay, the first step would be for you to determine true financial aid, which is the difference between the cost of your college education and the amount that you alone or with the help of family would be able to contribute. The family’s ability to assist with the cost of your education would be assessed by the federal government, along with the college by using a process known as EFC or Expected Family Contribution. Keep in mind, while the financial information associated with the EFC would prove highly beneficial, it is meant only as a guideline.
The next step for the evaluation of a financial aid award would be for the cost of going to the preferred college. Included in this would be tuition and books, as well as room, board, transportation/parking, personal expenses, and a small amount for recreation and entertainment. After the assessment by the federal government and college has been completed, your need for financial assistance would be calculated. For example, if it was determined that your college education was going to cost $50,000 and $20,000 would be paid by your family with another $2,000 paid by you, the result would show you needing a financial aid award in the amount of $28,000.
The above is the crux of the evaluation for a financial aid award but the process does not stop there. With this information determined, you would get assistance from the financial aid office for the college or university you plan to attend in putting a package of awards together based on awards available. Using the example above, the remaining $28,000 needed for your college education has to come from somewhere. Therefore, the financial aid package would include a number of funding solutions such as federal grants, scholarships, funding from a work-study, and student loans. Keep in mind that with financial aid decreasing, it would be vital to get started quickly to increase your chance of receiving financial assistance.
The people in the financial aid office will work hard to help you secure money so you can get your degree but if your request for a financial aid award was denied or you were not awarded an amount you feel is fair, you have the right to appeal. Now, although you would need to show need to be approved for federal grants or scholarships, not all students receive funding because of availability. The final decision would be based on set criteria in order of priority. There are some cases when requests are under review. If you found yourself in this position the financial aid office may advise you to seek funding from family temporarily, which would then be repaid once the award goes through.
The last thing we wanted to mention about the evaluation process associated with a financial aid award is that the assumption is you would be going to college on a full-time basis and while in school you would be required to pay full-time tuition, as well as other expenses. Finally, the award granted would be applicable for the college or university you attend at the time the process was completed. In other words, if you were to change schools and still needed financial assistance, you would need to go through this process again.