Do I have to complete a FAFSA?

Do I have to complete a FAFSA?

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Q:How can I qualify to earn reduced or free college tuition to further my education?

I'm currently finishing up my associates degree, but my parents are in no way helping me pay for college. I have been attending school and working full time so I can afford community college. What requirements would I have to go through in order to qualify for free college tuition for my bachelors degree?

A:

The first step is to file a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at https://fafsa.ed.gov/  You must include your parents data, unless:

You are 24 years of age or older

You are married

You have a dependent

You are retired or active military

You are homeless

You have lost both parents

You were in foster care since age 13

If you meet any of the above criteria,  you are considered an independent student and may file the FAFSA using only your (and your spouse, if married) information.  When you submit the form, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR).  Inside the SAR will be your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).  In simple terms, if your EFC is less than the cost of attendance, you are eligible for need-base aid.  If your EFC is greater than the COA, then you are not eligible for need-based aid.  You are always eligible for a student loan by filing the FAFSA, although limits for students are low.  You may learn more at www.studentloans.gov


Q: Can I get a loan sent to me instead of my school, so that I can pay my living expenses?

I receive financial aid and it covers my tuition, but I need additional funds for living expenses. Can I get a Sallie Mae loan sent to me instead of my school so that I can pay my rent, etc?

A:

A financial aid award (including loans, which are considered self help) may be used to pay for qualified education expenses.  This inlcudes rooom and board for a full time student, whether living on-campus in the dorm, or off campus.  Typically, the lender will send the money to the college in your name.  Any funds in excess of fees in the account (tuition and fees, e.g.) will be returned to the borrower.  You may then use the funds to pay your rent, utilities, food, etc.



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