Few things in life are as disappointing as putting off your college dreams because you can’t afford tuition and other fees. If you’ve been accepted to the college or university of your choice, one of the first things you need to do is figure out how you’re going to pay for it. For millions of people, financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education is an excellent solution.
Every year the Department of Education provides students with more than 33 billion dollars worth of financial aid. Before you apply for federal assistance, it’s important to make sure your school participates in federal aid programs. The most popular federal aid programs are Pell grants, Stafford loans, work-study, and Perkins loans.
If you want to apply for federal student aid, you must be a citizen of the United States or an eligible non-citizen. You also need a valid social security number, and you must have earned a high school diploma or the educational equivalent. You also must be enrolled, or accepted, as a regular student at an eligible college or university.
The FAFSE, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is available online. It takes seven days for officials to process your application, and return your Student Aid Report, or SAR. If you have any questions about the application process, the U.S. Department of Education offers an online publication called “Completing the FAFSE.” Your school guidance counselor is also an excellent resource for learning more about applying for financial aid.