After the FAFSA - AMP | Achieving Maximum Potential

After the FAFSA

what to expect after the FAFSA

What to expect after the FAFSA

Congratulations!  You completed your FAFSA! Here are a few things to watch for now:

  • Verification: Roughly one-third of all FAFSAs are selected. Don't panic, your college financial aid office will tell you what steps to take.
  • Student Aid Report: The U.S. Department of Education will send you a Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR contains your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and information about your Pell Grant eligibility.
  • Award letter: Each college or university that you list on your FAFSA and that accepts you will determine your financial need: the Cost of Attendance (COA) at that school minus your EFC. Each school will then send you an award letter, outlining the aid available to you. Check the deadline for accepting your aid package!

Where to find private scholarships

Federal and state awards aren't the only sources of free financial aid. Other places to look:

  • Colleges and universities: They might provide scholarships related to areas of study, academic achievements, outstanding talent, leadership, athletic ability or other criteria. Contact the financial aid office and your program department.
  • Corporations: Some offer scholarships to children of employees.
  • School networks: Your high school might offer scholarships for graduating students. Also check with the area alumni association of your college.
  • Community organizations: Many local groups sponsor scholarships. Check with your city or community center for a list of nonprofit and government groups.
  • Religious organizations: Your place of worship might offer scholarships. If not, it might partner with other organizations.

Two websites that we recommend are College Greenlight and BigFuture.

Note: Reputable organizations will not charge for scholarship searches.

Six tips as you budget for college

If you are planning to start college in the fall, it's not too soon to start your college budget. Here are some tips:

  • Overestimate expenses and underestimate income: You are better off ending up with more money on hand than you expected.
  • Involve your family: Determine what will be available from family sources, such as parents. Discuss how financial decisions will be made.
  • Prepare for the unexpected: Set saving goals to build your emergency fund. It will help you cover unusual expenses or changes that might happen while you are in school.
  • Record your expenses: A key part of planning is understanding where your money goes. Start carrying a small notebook or using a phone app to record even the smallest expenditures such as coffee, movie tickets, snacks and parking.

Spend your financial aid refund wisely. If you receive a financial aid refund from your school, don�t spend it all at once. One smart way to use this money is to start paying down any interest that might have accrued on student loans, or even the loan balances.

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