What is the Cost of Attendance?
The total yearly amount it will cost a student to go to school: tuition and fees, room and board (rent since SAA does not have on-campus housing), transportation, miscellaneous (laptop computer), loan fees, etc. (education related)

Cost of Attendance – Expected Family Contribution = Financial Need

Need can only be determined by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It is suggested that you meet with your school’s financial aid department to make sure that the form is completed properly and that any necessary documentation is copied and returned.

Unless you know for sure that you will be paying for tuition and fees in cash and have the money set aside, it is strongly suggested that you go through the financial aid process and complete a FAFSA. You may think that you do not qualify for aid because of your family’s income, but you may be surprised.

If, at your initial meeting, you decide not to complete the FAFSA but the family situation changes during the year, please contact the Financial Aid Office. You should be able to complete a FAFSA at that time.

What are the requirements to apply for aid?
The student must:

  • demonstrate financial need
  • have a high school diploma or general education development (GED) certificate
  • be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student working toward a degree or certificate program
  • be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen
  • have a valid Social Security Number (unless you’re from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau)
  • be making satisfactory academic progress
  • certify that you are using their aid for educational purposes only
  • certify that you are not in default on a federal student loan or owe money on a federal grant
  • if male and age 18-25, you must be registered for Selective Service (the draft)
  • not have been convicted under federal or state law of selling or possessing illegal drugs.

How do I know if I am considered Dependent or Independent?
All applicants for federal student aid are considered either “independent” or “dependent.” Dependent students are required to include information about their parents on the FAFSA. By answering a few questions, you can get a good idea of which category you fit into.

  • Will you be 24 or older by Dec. 31 of the school year for which you are applying for financial aid?
  • Will you be working toward a master’s or doctorate degree (such as M.A., M.B.A., M.D., J.D., Ph.D., Ed.D., etc.)?
  • Are you married or separated but not divorced?
  • Do you have children who receive more than half of their support from you?
  • Do you have dependents (other than children or a spouse) who live with you and receive more than half of their support from you?
  • At any time since you turned age 13, were both of your parents deceased, were you in foster care, or were you a ward or dependent of the court?
  • Are you an emancipated minor or are you in a legal guardianship as determined by a court?
  • Are you an unaccompanied youth who is homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
  • Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. armed forces for purposes other than training?
  • Are you a veteran of the U.S. armed forces?

If none of the criteria listed above apply to you, you may be considered a dependent student and may be required to provide your parents’ financial information when completing the FAFSA.  If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you may be an independent student. You may not be required to provide parental information on your FAFSA.

If you have questions about your dependency status or need more information, please visit StudentAid.gov/dependency.

What is a grant?
Money awarded that does not have to be repaid.

What is a loan?
Money lent with interest that has to be repaid.

How much money can I get?
Federal aid, including Pell Grants and Federal Direct Student Loans (both Subsidized and Unsubsidized), varies greatly based on FAFSA results. SAA’s Financial Aid Director, Tracy Gardner, can provide more information when you visit for your Financial Aid appointment.

An origination fee is deducted by the Federal Department of Education, to safeguard the parent and student in case of death or permanent disability. If either case arises, the loan will be paid off by the government and will not fall back on another family member to repay.

You are given 10 years to repay federal loans.

Federal financial aid funds are sent to SAA by Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT). No checks will have to be signed unless you originate a loan from another source or private lender.

Twenty things to consider

  • You will not know unless you apply.
  • Not everyone is awarded the same amount of funding.
  • You cannot have financial aid at two schools at the same time.
  • Just because you moved out does not mean you are independent.
  • To include a child in your household requires you to show proof of income. Having a child does not mean you are supporting a child.
  • Student’s/Parent’s taxes/assets/business income, etc. is used to determine eligibility.
  • Not repaying your loans on time may create problems for future students.
  • Each state has a deadline for applying for aid.
  • Your credit matters.
  • Your parent’s credit may matter.
  • Males must be registered with Selective Service.
  • Illegal Drug convictions may make you ineligible for aid.
  • Not all schools can award federal and/or state grants.
  • There are limitations to the amount of money you can borrow.
  • You must reapply every year for financial aid.
  • You need to apply early and on your own for scholarship money.
  • Check www.ftc.gov for scams.
  • Save all paperwork you receive regarding your aid. You just never know when you might need it.
  • Keep a copy of your federal taxes, W2s, 1099, and 1098T forms. These are needed to complete a FAFSA.
  • There are no stupid questions. So ask away.