It isn’t any secret that tuition continues to rise and the thought of paying for your education is becoming quite daunting. This blog is the first of a two-part series on financial aid.
Financial aid is available to online and distance students to cover the cost of tuition, fees, textbooks, and living expenses if you qualify. The most widely available assistance is Federal financial aid, which is distributed based on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Here are the steps to get your FAFSA started:
Step 1 – Apply for Admission
Federal financial aid is only available those students who are admitted into degree seeking programs. This would mean that stand alone courses, certificates, or non-credit programs do not qualify.
Step 2 – Get a PIN
Get a PIN at www.pin.ed.gov. If you have a PIN from previous educational experience, it shouldn’t change; you can use the same PIN.
Step 3 – Collect financial documents
Collect financial documents that can assist you throughout the process, such as:
- Social Security number
- Federal tax records
- W-2 form
- Bank statements
- Investment records
Step 4 – Complete the FAFSA
Complete the FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov. Student Financial Services recommends having your application in by March 1.
Step 5 – Check your e-mail
Check your e-mail for important updates on your financial aid package! Students are legally obligated to repay the loan even if you don’t complete the program. Because of this, you are responsible for reading documentation as it is sent to you so you don’t fall behind on payments.
Types of Federal Financial Aid
- Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
- Federal Perkins Loans
- Graduate PLUS Loans
Learn more about the different types of financial aid »
Consult the Professionals
This is the most important section of this blog. We recognize the complexity of this issue, and because of that it is important that you contact the student financial services department at your institution. This will save you time, headache, and potentially money. For Colorado State University OnlinePlus students, please visit www.sfs.colostate.edu.
Check out Part II of this Financial Aid Series.