When you want to apply for financial aid to complete your secondary education, you must first obtain an application form, called a FAFSA. You can obtain this form from the financial aid office at any college or by going online. You can fill out the application form directly online and submit it electronically or you can print it off, fill it out and send it by regular mail.
In order to complete the FAFSA, you will have to send in documentation of your assets or your parents’ assets, such as income and investments. You also have to include the number of dependents that you or your parents have and how many are attending college. If you are just out of high school and have to include your parents’ income, you also have to submit their completed income tax returns for the previous year.
When you complete a FAFSA, you are actually applying for all types of loans, scholarships and grants on one application form. You can submit the application form anytime after January 1 st of the calendar year in which you intend to commence your studies. As long as you are in college, you will have to send in an application each year, as soon as possible after January 1 st of each year.
Even if you are applying to different colleges, you only have to submit one FAFSA application. The student aid will conduct a student needs analysis based on the financial information you provide. They conduct an SAR (Student Aid Report) and send it out to six different colleges. Each of these schools will put together a student aid package for you and send you the details in an Award Letter. However, in order to accept the financial aid, you also have to meet the eligibility requirements of the college and be accepted into the program of your choice.There are other sources of funding available to you in addition to federal student loans. Each school may have scholarship or bursary programs that you can apply for and there may be state-based programs that you might qualify for.