Financial Aid / FAFSA


A student and family are considered primarily responsible for education costs. Colleges base their financial packages, more or less, on the FAFSA. Financial aid packages can vary dramatically from school to school as each can interpret needs differently.  It can be confusing, but the more you know, the easier it can be.  Don't give up; it isn't impossible!  You must look for your best fit educational opportunities along with cost and leave no stone unturned looking for finanicial support.


 1. Federal and state grants
 2. Scholarships
 3. Federal Work Study
 4. Military or community service
 5. You and your family's cash and savings
 6. You and your family's assets
 7. Student and/or parent loans



To be eligible for federal aid and some institutional aid, every student must submit the online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It opens the doors to a variety of financial aid options. 

Some schools require the FAFSA for Admissions, so you must submit it even if you don't think you will qualify for any federal aid. Ignoring the form could cost you thousands of dollars of aid money. FAFSA Website

It is filed annually and based on five funding factors:
  • Assets
  • Income
  • Household size
  • Number of students in college 
  • Age of oldest parent

The FAFSA is no longer using pin numbers. Instead you must create a FSA ID that works as your electronic signature on the FAFSA. Click here to create your FSA ID. You can use your FSA ID immediately to sign and submit your FAFSA. 

Some other news, beginning this year (fall 2016)  the FAFSA will now be available to complete starting October 1st; approximately one year before you attend college. Also, the tax information required will be from two years previous. (Eg. This years FAFSA will use 2015 tax information since you are applying for aid for 2017) 

Because aid is first come, first serve, you should file your FAFSA as close to the October 1st opening date as possible. The two years previous tax information required is meant to eliminate any guessing since taxes for that year should already be filed. If your family's financial situation has dramatically changed in the past two years, fill out the FAFSA with the two years previous information and contact the financial aid department at the schools to which you are applying. They will work with you on a case-by-case basis. Start your FAFSA!


By using the net price calculators on a college's website or FAFSA4caster, a family will get a more realistic idea of what a college will truly cost them before a student applies. Try the FAFSA 4caster

NET PRICE CALCULATOR considers a student's GPA, test scores, class rank, as well as family income and other financial information. Your net price is an estimate of what you will pay after scholarships or need-based grants are deducted from the cost. Many college and college search website offer a Net Price Calculator.

Try College Board's Net Price Calculator

Free Application for Federal Student Aid
To be eligible for federal aid and some institutional aid, every student must submit the FAFSA.

Expected Family Contribution
The FAFSA determines your EFC for post-secondary expenses (the minimum that the federal governments expects you to contribute to pay for your education).

DN or FN
Demonstrated Need or Financial Need
Your DN or FN is the difference between the cost of school and your EFC - your financial aid eligibility.

Cost of Attendance
The COA varies from school to school. It includes tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, personal expenses and transportation.

Student Aid Report
After your FAFSA is processed, you will receive a SAR with FAFSA results.

Data Release Number
The DNR will be located on your SAR. It is your code to give to colleges to access your information electronically.