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Everything You Need to Know about the FAFSA

What is the FAFSA?

The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is a form that should be completed annually by any college student seeking student loans or grants for the next school year. To get any kind of federal financial aid, you must file the FAFSA. It will determine how much financial need you have for student loans, grants, and even work study. Federal student loans can be either subsidized or unsubsidized. Subsidized loans are loans that the federal government subsidizes for you while you are a student. That means that the interest on the loan is paid for you. Unsubsidized loans have interest that accumulates while you are in school. Grants do not need to be repaid. They are basically free money given based on need. Work study is given based on need as well. You work on campus part-time and get paid with that money.

Who is it for?

Subsidized loans are available for undergraduate college students with financial need. Unsubsidized loans are available for undergraduate and graduate college students with no requirement to show financial need. You must show financial need in order to qualify for grants and work study as an undergraduate and graduate student. You must also be at least a half-time student to receive federal financial aid.

When should it be done?

Submit your FAFSA application by March 1st for K-State because it is their priority deadline. That is when certain grants will be awarded to needy students. The sooner you submit your application, the better. Keep in mind that every school has a different priority deadline so make sure you know when it is. If you miss the priority deadline, it’s not too late! Go ahead and file your FAFSA as soon as possible.

Where to start?

Complete your FAFSA at https://fafsa.ed.gov/. If you have not completed the FAFSA previously, you and your parents may need to register for a Federal Student Aid PIN. You can do so at pin.ed.gov. Remember that pin and do not share it with anyone. It will serve as your electronic signature at the end of your application.

If you are a dependent of your parents’, then you will need their information in addition to yours. You will need social security numbers, 2013 federal income tax returns, bank and brokerage statements, and your PIN numbers.

You need your tax information for the FAFSA but if you have not done your taxes yet, then you should still submit it with estimates first. You can go back to it later and import your tax information directly to your FAFSA using the tax filing pin you created when doing your taxes.

Renewing your FAFSA

If you have completed the FAFSA before, it will be easier to fill it out now. Your information from prior years will be transferred, then you can just update your information with new tax return information, etc. You can use the import tool to retrieve your income tax information.

Melissa Daovannary
Peer Counselor I
Powercat Financial Counseling
www.k-state.edu/pfc

Financial Aid Tips for the Kansas State Student

That time is growing near to start thinking about finances for the coming school year.  A great way to find funding is through filling out the FAFSA. Here are some useful tips and resources for deciding which type of federal funding is best for you.

You should start the process now. The amount of financial aid available is limited, meaning federal funding is based on a first come, first served basis. If you have not yet begun this process, you can get started at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. You will need to fill in the required information as prompted throughout the procedure. If a question arises while filling out the FAFSA, you can contact your Student Financial Aid Advisor in the Office of Student Financial Assistance. This office is located in 104 Fairchild Hall and can be reached at 785-532-6420. The spring deadline in Kansas for turning in the FAFSA is April 1, 2012.

Once you have filled out the FAFSA and received financial aid, the office of Student Financial Assistance will inform you and it will show up in iSIS under Self Services=>Campus Finances=>View Financial Aid. It is now your choice to decide which aid you would like to accept; your choices may consist of:

Federal Direct Subsidized loans: a need based student loan. The federal government “subsidizes” this loan by paying the interest on it provided you pass all the eligibility requirements. Interest will be subsidized by the federal government for 6 months upon graduation. You will more than likely want to choose these types of loans before accepting an unsubsidized loan

Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans: which is a non-need based student loan. Accrued interest on this loan is your responsibility even while in school. You will want to accept these loans with caution, because interest will start building up as soon as you do.

Federal Parent Plus loans: a non- need based parent loan. If you accept this loan, your parent must apply for it and pass a credit check. Your parent will be responsible for repaying this loan including all accrued interest

Federal Grants: a need-based form of federal gift aid. Grants are basically free money and should be accepted because they are the lowest-cost financial aid, along with Federal Work-study and Scholarships.

Federal Work-study: According to Kansas State University’s financial aid description, Federal Work-Study is a need-based form of federal work aid. If you accept the award and secure a part-time Federal Work-Study job, this award can assist you in paying for college expenses. To learn more about this topic, go to www.k-state.edu/sfa/jobs. Participation in this part-time employment program will provide you with a paycheck on a bi-weekly schedule. Your pay will go directly to you and will not automatically offset any University charges you might have.

Private Scholarships: Private scholarships will also show up with your financial aid and will need to be accepted.

According to a tip found on https://www.nextstudent.com/financial-aid/financial-aid-tips/, “If you’re not happy with the financial aid packages you’re offered, negotiate. School financial aid officers develop the final student aid packages, and school officials may not fully understand your financial situation. Talk to them. Ask them how they arrived at the final numbers. Help them understand your position. Each school’s financial aid package may be different, so don’t give up until you’ve tried them all.”

Even though you have earned these funds this year, never stop looking for new scholarships or grants. Your financial aid eligibility can change from year to year. Financial aid is a great way to account for the cost of school, and there are many types of loans and grants available for students.

Also, if you have questions about this process, or any other questions regarding loan decisions and management, feel free to make an appointment on the Powercat Financial Counseling website: www.ksu.edu/pfc or call us at 785-532-2889.

Jessica Stewart
Peer Counselor I
Powercat Financial Counseling
www.k-state.edu/pfc
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