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 (lap top 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 any 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?
Living with a parent makes no difference in your dependency status. If you answer yes to one of the following questions and can supply proof, you can be considered independent and only have to use your (and your spouse’s if married or separated) income and assets. If you answer no to all seven questions, you are dependent and have to use income and asset information of both the student and your parent’s (stepparent). If your parent is married as of the day the form is completed, then the stepparent’s income and assets are added in too.
For the 2014-2015 academic year (which applies to students starting in Fall 2014) you will be asked whether:
- you were born on or before Jan 1, 1991.
- you are legally married.
- at the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year, you will be working on a master’s or doctorate program (does not pertain to SAA students).
- are currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Services for purposes other than training.
- you are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.
- you have children who receive more than half their support from you (proof required).
- you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half their support from you and will continue to receive more than half their support from you through June 30, 2013.
- at any time since you turned 12, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court.
- as determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you an emancipated minor.
- as determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you in legal guardianship.
- at any time on or after July 1, 2012, did your high school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless.
- at any time on or after July 1, 2012, did the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless.
- at any time on or after July 1, 2012, did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless.
Grandparents are not considered parents unless they legally adopt you.
If you have a child, it does not necessarily mean you are supporting the child. Unless you have “current means of support,” chances are someone else is paying the bills and you are considered dependent. Sometimes special circumstances can be taken into consideration to adjust a student’s aid or status, but it is on a case-by-case basis. Adequate proof is always needed and the financial aid director or administrator of the school has the final say. An appeal will not be addressed by the U.S. Department of Education.
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.