Funding Education Beyond High School: The Guide to Federal Student Aid 2011-2012

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The Office of Student Aid calculates your cost of attendance and subtracts the amount you and your family are expected to contribute EFC toward that cost. If there's anything left over, you are considered to have student financial need. In determining your need for aid from the FSA Programs, your student aid administrator must first consider other aid you are expected to receive. Cost of attendance is a budget allowance based on an average tuition charges and average costs associated with a standard term length used to calculate need.

Educational related expenses such as childcare and additional supplies or increased travel may be added or adjusted at the schools discretion with appropriate documentation. When you apply for federal student aid, your answers to certain questions will determine whether you are considered dependent on your parents. This will determine whether you must report their income and assets as well as your own - or whether you are independent and must report only your own income and assets and those of your spouse, if you're married. Students are classified as dependent or independent because federal student aid programs are based on the idea that students and their parents or spouse, if applicable have the primary responsibility for paying for their post-secondary education.

You are an independent student if at least one of the following applies to you:. If you think you have unusual circumstances that would make you independent even though none of the above criteria apply to you, talk to a student aid counselor. He or she can change your status if he or she thinks your circumstances warrant it based on the documentation you provide. But, remember the aid administrator won't automatically do this. That decision is based on his or her judgment, and it is final.

You cannot appeal it to the U. Department of Education's web site. To complete the form, you need your and your spouse's or your and your parent's income tax form , A, EZ, Telefile. When you file electronically an estimate of federal aid eligibility can be completed immediately allowing you to know whether you are eligible for federal, state, or institutional aid. Check with your local campus to see if they can provide this service. You can also file on any computer that has Internet access.

Generally, this allows faster processing from the Department of Education. PINs allow you and your parents if applicable to apply, renew, make corrections and even sign the application. Parents of dependent students who wish to sign electronically will need a PIN also. Using an email address students can be notified when the application is received, when processed which includes an address URL to view the processed Student Aid Report. A pply for student aid at www. You will either receive it at your home address or from your college. Most of the information on the form will be preprinted and will be the same as the information you gave last year plus any of your corrections that were processed.

You will only have to write in some new information and information that has changed for example, income or family size. All items marked with arrows must be completed even if the information is the same as last year. See your Student Aid Office. Most mistakes are made because students do not follow instructions. Pay special attention to any questions on income, because most errors occur in this area. When you apply, you should have certain records on hand. These records are listed on the application. You should save all records and all other materials used in completing the application because you may need them later to prove that the information you reported is correct.

This process is called verification. Thirty per cent of all applicants are selected for verification. This does not mean there are errors but only that the data must be reviewed for accuracy. If verification is required, and you do not provide it, you will not receive aid from the FSA Programs, and you might not receive aid from other sources. You should make a photocopy of your application or print out a copy of your FAFSA application before you submit it. This way, you have a copy of the data you submitted for your own records.

So be sure you keep all documents and that the information you report is accurate. You cannot apply before this date. It is easier to complete the application when you already have your tax return completed, so you may want to consider completing your tax return as early as possible. You do not have to file them early; just have the completed information. Do not sign, date, or send your application before January 1.

If you apply by mail, send your completed application in the envelope that came with it. It is already addressed, and using it will ensure that your application reaches the correct address. Send it only by regular mail. If you apply by mail, your application will be processed in approximately four weeks. The SAR will report the information from your application and, if there are no questions or problems with your application, your SAR will report your Expected Family Contribution EFC , the number used in determining your eligibility for federal student aid.

Each college you listed on the application will also receive your application information. Fill in the postcard with the required information, attach a stamp to the postcard, and mail it with your application. When your application is received by the Department of Education's central processing system, the postcard will be stamped with the date that it is received. You will receive the date-stamped portion of the postcard for your files. If you do not receive your SAR within four weeks of the date stamped on the postcard, you may call to see when your application was processed.

The results will be sent electronically to the college you specify. The results will also be sent to the colleges you list on your application.


However, if you do not mail in the signature page so it is received within 14 days of transmitting your data, or if you indicate on your application that a printer is not available, you will receive a SAR without an EFC. Should this be the case, you and your parents if you are a dependent student must sign the SAR and return it to the Central Processing System. Your college cannot award you any federal student aid until you have your EFC.

When you receive the SAR you must review it carefully to make sure it is correct. However you apply, if you need to make corrections your college can make the corrections for you, or you can make corrections yourself on the WEB by using your PIN or you can make corrections on Part 2 of the paper SAR, sign and date it and return it to the address given at the end of Part 2. However, your college can make most corrections faster and can review for accuracy resulting in faster processing. If the data are correct and you do not need to make changes, you can receive student aid on the basis of that information.

If your college has not received your application information electronically, you must take your SAR to the college so they can add your college to your information which will then allow them to receive your information electronically. If it has been more than four weeks since you mailed in your application and you have not heard anything, you can check by calling Monday - Friday, 8 a. Box 84 Washington, D. If you write, make sure you include in your letter your full name, permanent address, Social Security Number, date of birth, and signature.

Although the process of determining a student's eligibility for federal student aid is basically the same for all applicants, there is some flexibility. For instance, if your college's Office of Student Aid Staff believes it is appropriate, based on the documentation you provide, they can change your status from dependent to independent. In some cases, your college's Student Aid Staff may adjust your cost of attendance or the information used to calculate your Expected Family Contribution EFC to take into account circumstances that might affect the amount you and your family are expected to contribute toward your education.

These circumstances could include a family's unusual medical or dental expenses, recent loss of employment, death or divorce of a spouse or parents for dependent students. If conditions such as these apply to you or your family, contact your local college Office of Student Aid. Check if you feel you have any other special circumstances that might affect the amount you and your family is expected to contribute.

But remember, there have to be very good reasons for the Student Aid Administrator to make any adjustments, and you'll have to provide adequate proof to support those adjustments. Appeals must be presented in writing. Specific procedures are available at your college's Office of Student Aid. Also, remember that the Student Aid Administrator's decision is final and cannot be appealed to the U.

Whether you apply electronically or by mail, the application processor must receive your application by June 30, for the college year. Do not sign, date, or send your application before this date. However, your local college's Office of Student Aid and the state authority for administering state grant have deadlines. Applying early insures consideration of your information for maximum funding. As soon as your eligibility has been determined, the Office of Student Aid will set up your account and credit your account with the amount of student aid that you have been awarded.

If your charges are less than the amount awarded, you will be issued a check for the balance, which will be mailed to your address or in some cases available at your college's Business Office. Be sure your address information is current in the Records Office at your college. Each college's Office of Student Aid publishes approximate dates when and how the balances will be issued to students. If your college has not received your application information electronically, you must submit your SAR to the college by the appropriate deadline. Make sure you know your last day of enrollment -- it may be earlier than August If you are selected for verification, additional deadlines apply to you.

Your Student Aid Staff can tell you what they are. If you need answers right away to questions about federal student aid, call the appropriate number listed below at the Federal Student Aid Information Center between 9 a. Eastern Time , Monday through Friday: If you have reason to suspect any fraud, waste, or abuse involving federal student aid funds, you may call MIS-USED , a toll-free number, which is the hotline to the U.

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Department of Education's Inspector General's Office. You may remain anonymous, if you wish. The site address is; http: The address is http: Box 84, Washington, DC A Federal Pell Grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid. Pell Grants are awarded only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor's or professional degree. A professional degree would include a degree in a field such as pharmacy or dentistry. For many students, Pell Grants provide a foundation of student aid to which other aid may be added.

To determine if you are eligible financially, the U. Department of Education uses a standard formula, established by U. Congress, to evaluate the information you report when you apply. You receive one Pell Grant in an award year but distributed half at a time each semester.

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How much you receive will depend not only on your EFC, but also, on your cost of attendance, whether you are a full-time or part-time student, and whether you attend college for a full academic year or less. Pell eligible students are eligible for two 2 fulltime enrollment semesters. Students who were not enrolled for fulltime both Fall and Spring semesters are eligible for the balance of the aid for the Summer.

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These forms are available at your Student Aid Office. You may not receive Pell Grant funds from more than one college at a time even if you are enrolled at more than one college at a time. You may take classes at different colleges at the same time and wish the different enrollments to count toward your total enrollment.

If your classes are taken at different KCTCS colleges you do not need to do anything except provide documentation that the classes taken at colleges other than your home college are required for completion of your credential. Your dual enrollment will be identified by report but you must check with your student aid office regarding the required documentation that the classes taken at the other colleges count toward your degree. Your student aid paperwork is submitted to, handled by, accounted for and distributed by the Home College.

The Home College is the college from which you plan to obtain a degree. In both cases the Home College Registrar verifies the classes taken from the Delivering College count toward your particular educational credential certificate, diploma, degree to be received from the Home College.

If the classes taken from the Delivering College do not count toward the Home College credential those classes will not be included in the calculation of enrollment for eligibility purposes. In addition you are responsible for paying for all classes taken at Non- KCTCS colleges whether the classes are accepted for the degree or not.

Then the Awarding College Home can determine the enrollment status. It is your responsibility to pay the tuition to the KCTCS college by the deadline in order to avoid being dropped for nonpayment. KCTCS will credit your awarded funds to your college account, and whatever is left will be given to you by paying you directly, by crediting your Higher One account, personal bank account or paper check as designated with the business office.

Yes, if you are otherwise eligible. You will not receive as much as if you were enrolled full time, but your Pell Grant funds will be disbursed in accordance with your enrollment status and you will not be refused an award simply because you're enrolled less than half time. Ford Federal Direct Program Direct. While you should be aware these funds must be repaid with interest you may feel you need this additional funding.

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  • Each college has its own policies and procedures for processing loan funds. It is the goal of each college to educate students regarding their rights and responsibilities so as to assure students will understand the seriousness of borrowing and be capable of repaying these loans. Contact your college for information about their requirements. Under certain circumstances, you can receive a deferment or forbearance on your loan. A deferment allows you to temporarily postpone payments on your loan.

    If you have a subsidized loan, you will not be charged interest during the deferment. If your loan is unsubsidized, you will be responsible for the interest on the loan during the deferment. If you don't pay the interest as it accrues, it will be capitalized which means it is added back into the total, resulting in a higher total repayment amount. See the Loan Deferment Summary for the list of deferments available if your loan was first disbursed on or after July 1, For information on deferments for loans disbursed prior to that date, Federal Direct Loan borrowers should contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center You cannot receive a deferment if your loan is in default.

    If you are temporarily unable to meet your repayment schedule but are not eligible for a deferment, you may ask to receive forbearance for a limited and specified period. If you are eligible for forbearance, your payments are postponed or reduced. Whether your loans are subsidized or unsubsidized, you will be charged interest. If you don't pay the interest as it accrues, it will be capitalized.

    Deferments and forbearances are not automatic. For either program, you may have to provide documentation to support your request. You must continue making scheduled payments until you receive notification that the deferment or forbearance has been granted. Department of Education guarantees that each participating college will receive enough money to pay the Federal Pell Grants of its eligible students.

    There is no guarantee every eligible student will be able to receive a FSEOG; students at KCTCS colleges are paid based on the availability of funds, first applied, first file complete basis and those students with the most need. This is an advantage to applying early. The Federal Work-Study Program provides jobs for students with financial need, allowing them to earn additional money to help pay education expenses.

    The program encourages community service work and work related to your course of study. No special skills are needed. Dedication to assignments and punctuality are valued. Your Federal Work-Study salary will be at least the current federal minimum wage, but it may be higher, depending on the type of work you do and the skills acquired. Your total Federal Work-Study award depends on when you apply and your level of need and the availability of positions. If you work off campus, your employer may be a private nonprofit organization, a for-profit organization or a public agency.

    These organizations must provide part of the funds required for your salary. The amount you earn cannot exceed your total Federal Work-Study award. No Child Left Behind is a Federal work-study program assisting elementary school children in learning to read and count to level.

    Check with your local college about this program. The following state-sponsored programs are available to Kentucky residents attending colleges in Kentucky. They cannot be used by non-residents to attend Kentucky colleges, or residents to attend out-of-state institutions except in very specific situations. Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority administers these programs. More detailed information is provided on the website www. CAP Grants are awarded to Kentucky residents enrolled for at least six semester hours and seeking an eligible educational credential.

    The Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship KEES is a scholarship designed to encourage and reward high school students for good performance during their high school careers. Students must have graduated in May or thereafter. Students must be seeking an eligible educational credential.

    A " Jeff Green Scholar " is a special designation for students who earn a 4. Students in the graduating class of were the first students who can qualify as Jeff Green Scholars. All applicants must be Kentucky residents enrolled full-time unless in the final term of a teacher certification program and less than full-time is required to complete the program. Applicants must demonstrate financial need. If the student does not teach according to the required provisions the scholarship becomes an interest- bearing loan. Applications are available at your local college or by calling 1- For this scholarship students must enroll for not more than 9 credit hours of appropriate program college classes and be employed at least 20 hour a week in a participating early childhood development facility.

    Check with your childcare facility. Tuition paid at today's rates will grow to cover rates charged by public institutions. To request more information call toll-free KAPT. A Trust account can be opened for the beneficiary at any age; the account owner determines the method, schedule, and amount of contribution. Earnings are exempt from Kentucky taxes and are deferred from Federal taxes until distribution. The program is open to undergraduate and graduate students in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

    If you are a first-year college student, you likely have questions about the loan application process. What kind of loan should I take out? How much money will I need? How long do I have to repay the loans? You will have to fill out a new form every year to determine how much aid you will receive. The financial aid office at your college will determine how much aid you receive and will notify you. The cost of living is calculated by totaling up your projected length in school and estimated tuition and expenses per semester.

    If you are a parent, this also includes additional costs for childcare. To be clear, you may receive offers for more loan money than you actually need. Remember, loans are one of the ways to pay for college, but most loans come with strings attached. That means you will have to pay interest on loans and abide by repayment rules.


    Typically, repayment plans are flexible for federal loans and less flexible on private loans. It takes roughly 10 years for students to pay off their debt. For more information on how financial aid awards are determined, visit the Federal Student Aid portal. Federal Perkins Loans are available to part- and full-time undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate financial need. To be eligible, your college must participate in the Federal Perkins Loan. Generally you have up to nine months after you graduate to begin repaying the loan.

    The loan is typically repaid over a year period. Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students, or PLUS loans , are loans parents and legal guardians can take out on behalf of their dependent kids to help them pay for their undergraduate studies. Loans carry a fixed 7. Parents may borrow up to the cost of the attendance, subtracting any other financial aid. The repayment term is typically 10 years, although that can be extended if needed. Federal subsidized loans are only available to undergraduate students. The government covers the interest on subsidized loans while an undergraduate student is in college.

    However, interest begins accruing when they graduate. The federal government will not pay the interest rates on unsubsidized loans, which are offered to undergraduate and graduate students. Interest begins adding up for these loans right away.

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    The total amount a student can borrow is determined by their college. Graduate students will pay 6. If you borrow multiple loans you will have multiple payments every month. If that sounds confusing, you can consider consolidating those loans. You can do that by getting a Direct Consolidation Loan to combine all of your federal loans so that you make one payment per month. On the plus side, consolidation can make your payments lower and give you more time to pay off the loan. You can also switch to an income-driven repayment plan, where your payment is determined by your income.

    On the downside, by consolidating and stretching out your repayment timeline, you may pay more interest in the long run. Additionally, you may lose some borrower benefits like principal rebates if you consolidate. You can borrow what you need and directly repay the bank or credit union. If you learn anything about financial aid for college, let it be this: There is a significant difference between federal and private loans. Before you apply for a private loan from a bank or credit union, use all possible federal aid available to you, including subsidized and unsubsidized loans.

    Federal loans, which are provided through the federal government, have certain protections for student borrowers. First, they offer fixed and low interest rates that private loans typically do not. Second, federal loans include income-driven repayment plans, which set your monthly repayment fees to match your income. That means if you lose work, you can adjust your repayment plan to reduce your monthly fees. Third, with federal loans, you generally do not have to start making payments until you graduate; and with subsidized loans, the federal government pays the interest on the loan while you are in school.

    An added bonus, when you file taxes, the interest on your federal loan may be tax deductible. Private loans, available through banks and credit unions or sometimes schools , have higher interest rates than federal loans. Generally, you have to start making payments toward that loan while you are in school. And to make matters worse, if you lose your job or have a hard time making payments, private loans may not let you file for deferment or forbearance. The bottom line is, if you must take out a private loan make sure you are aware of the interest rates and repayment options.

    While you may not have to worry about repaying your loans while in school, it is important to have a clear understanding of future obligations. How will you pay off your loans?

    Financial Need

    What are your options? In an ideal world, you will graduate and immediately land your dream job with a high-paying salary. Hope for the best, but perhaps plan for the worst. With federal loans, you have a variety of options available to repay your loan, depending on your financial circumstances. If you do not choose a specific repayment plan, you will be on the standard one, which runs on a year timeline. Graduates having difficulty paying their debt can opt for a repayment plan that suits their situation.

    One option is the income-driven repayment plan, where your monthly fee may be reduced depending on your income. Another option is to consolidate your loans to make one, reduced monthly payment. Again, you can do this by applying for the Direct Consolidation Loan. If you cannot afford to make a payment, contact the loan service and find out about your options. You may be eligible to defer your loan or request forbearance to delay your payments.

    If you take on a certain job after graduation, you will not have to repay some, or any portion, of your loan. Graduates who go into public service or teaching may be eligible for forgiveness of their Direct Loans, Federal Family Education Loans, and Perkins Loans. Also included are jobs in the nonprofit sector and federal, state, and local government. And those who serve full-time in the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps qualify for student loan forgiveness. To apply for student loan forgiveness, complete the Employment Certification form. In other cases, your loan may be cancelled or discharged. For instance, if your college should shut down or if it is determined that your school was in violation of any state laws, you may be eligible to become discharged from your student loan.

    If your loan is discharged, then you will not have to repay anything.