Steps for Aid
College is an important and often hard decision to make. Faith wants to assist you in your decision by providing you with the information you need. Our financial aid department is ready to help you with your package. We strive to make college as inexpensive as possible. There are many students who can testify that God has placed them at Faith...Please do not hesitate to call Faith admissions at 515-964-0601 ext. 241, if you have any questions. We are here to help you!
Step 1: Planning ahead
Every year the price for college increases. Students as well as parents should research the best ways to plan for the future. For more information please go to www.studentaid.ed.gov. You can also check out Financial Aid Resources.
What can I, as a parent, do to help my child prepare for college?
• Jump Start
• Advise your student to take the right junior high and high school courses based on the type of school they wish to enroll in after high school.
• Encourage them to maintain good grades throughout their high school experience.
• Assist your student in choosing the right school by researching the school's curriculum, size, type of school, and affordability.
• Encourage campus visits.
• Help your student obtain and complete admissions applications
• Assist your student with essays and preparing for admissions interviews
The first important thing is to have your homeschooled child contact the admissions office at the college. The admissions office will be interested in the level and intensity of the course work your child has completed. Be sure to find out whether the college requires a transcript of completed courses. Sometimes, a college will request a list of books used and any completed course materials. Your child's GPA will probably not matter as much as factors such as college entrance exam scores, personal essays, and interviews.
Many colleges find it useful to have a portfolio of the homeschooled student's work. In addition to information such as grades and test scores, the portfolio might include writing samples, computer programming projects, awards, lists of books read, newspaper clippings about volunteer work, etc.
In addition, your child might want to consider enrolling at a local community college. Some homeschoolers find community college a good way to "try out" a college environment and to build a record of courses and grades beyond the home transcript.
• Savings - You should begin as soon as possible.
• Tax Benefits
What is available?
• Pell grants and scholarships are the first resource for all college students. Pell grants currently offer students a maximum of $4,800 each year. This is based on student financial eligibility. Those with the greatest financial need will receive the maximum award. The Pell grant is awarded to the student through an electronic transfer from the US Department of Education to Faith each semester. It is then applied to the student's account.
• Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) is sponsored by the United States Department of Education. It is granted to any freshmen or sophomore who has completed a rigorous set of high school courses. Freshmen qualify for $750, and sophomores who have maintained a 3.0 or higher will be awarded $1,300. Please click here for a list of requirements.
How do I qualify?
• Students must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen
• In order for a student to receive any financial aid, they must be enrolled half-time in an approved course of study. The student will then receive half of the maximum award allotted. A student who is enrolled full-time and who demonstrates an immense financial need will receive the full award allotted.
• Student must demonstrate a need for financial aid in order to receive any federal financial aid. Federal aid will be distributed based on your FAFSA. This formula which was developed by the US Department of Education will use parents as well as students taxes and bank records to determine financial aid. The Department of Education started the FAFSA4caster for students and parents to decide what aid is offered to them. Please visit www.fafsa4caster.ed.gov for more details.
• Students must have a high school diploma or something comparable.
• Students must have a valid social security number.
• Male students much be registered for Selective Service.
• Students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress. If a student is not successful in achieving Satisfactory Academic Progress they will be on probation. Students who are on probation will receive their financial aid for that year. However, if a student does not improve their GPA, they will be on Academic Suspension. And they will not be allotted financial aid until their grades improve. If you have any more questions please look at the 2007-2008 Undergraduate Catalog for more information about the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy.
What can I do ahead of time to prepare?
It is essential to get rid of debt. College expenses are rising and more students are trying to apply for loans. It is important to pay off credit card debt. The EFC (Expected Family Contribution) is figured bases upon a family's resources to give towards the student's schooling. The EFC does not take into account family debt from credit cards, car payments, mortgages, etc.
Go to www.studentaid.ed.gov for more resources on savings programs.
Go to www.finaid.org for more resources for scholarship information.
Step 2: Understanding the process
Financial Aid can be very confusing...Here are a few things that might help you understand your financial information.
• Students need to fill out the FAFSA to apply for financial aid. The first step is to apply for a PIN (personal identification number). Each student and parent will need to have a PIN. Look at www.pin.ed.gov for more information. After you receive your PIN, go to www.fafsa.ed.gov and use the electronic application for the FAFSA. The electronic version will help with several items: less processing time, fewer errors, and it can be saved and returned to at another time.
• FAFSA is then sent to the CPS (Central Processing System) which is a third party servicer for the United States Department of Education (U.S. DOE). Your social security number will be matched with your FAFSA for accuracy. It is important to apply by using your full name as it displays on your social security card. The Selective Service database will match all male students. You can register for Selective Service with FAFSA. If you decide not to register, you may not receive federal aid. The last match for the FAFSA will be citizenship.
• The student will then receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). If you provided an email address on your FAFSA you will also receive the SAR via email. The schools that you listed on your FAFSA will receive an ISIR (Institutional Student Information Record). This will let the colleges that you are considering know that you are interested in attending. The colleges can then prepare a financial aid package.
• The US Department of Education authorizes at least 30% of all FAFSAs are selected for verification. You will then be asked to supply all tax information that was used to organize your FAFSA (parents' taxes and students' taxes). It is important to sign the copy of your tax return. You will also be asked to supply W2s. Students and parents will need to sign three verification worksheets. The Financial Aid Department will be available to help you fill out the worksheets.
• After the verification has taken place, the student will receive a letter letting them know what aid is accessible to them.
Step 3: Apply for aid
The FAFSA will create all federal financial aid. This is not a means to apply for any loan or personal scholarship. Faith's financial aid department will help students with their loan process and with choosing a lender. Federal Aid will be calculated on the student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
Step 4: Receiving federal aid
All federal aid will be sent directly to Faith and applied to a student's account. Aid will be disbursed according to semesters. First time recipients of financial aid must attend at least 30 days before they can receive their first disbursement of financial aid. Faith has set the first disbursement for the end of September. The second disbursement will come the end of February. Aid will not be disbursed until the student has completed all financial aid paperwork that has been requested by the Faith financial aid office. If a student achieves a credit balance on their account, Faith will issue a check for the balance.
Step 5: What if I need a loan?
Although Faith does not persuade students to take out loans, we do realize that sometimes that is what is needed. Faith will not certify a loan unless a FAFSA online interview has been completed. It is important to remember that FAFSA is not an application for a loan. It is also important to research loans very carefully. You should look for banks and lenders who offer good interest rates.