Financial Aid 101
It's a myth that most families earn too much to qualify
for financial aid. Virtually everyone qualifies for
some type of aid, since not all financial aid is need-based.
In addition, the cost of your college or graduate school
plays a role. If you attend a high-cost school, chances
are you will receive more aid than if you attend a lower-cost
school. The overview below will help you get a handle
on the financial aid process. Use our School
Search to help you find the school that's right
for you. It can be used to research schools based on
specific criteria you've indicated, such as cost, location,
and other factors.
Financial Aid - It's Easy to Get Started
Use our Budget Calculator
to determine the total cost of school, from tuition to everyday
living expenses. Then use our Expected Family Contribution
Calculator to figure out the difference between the cost
of your education and how much your family will be expected
to contribute. Whatever is left, is the amount of financial
aid you will need.
Explore Your Financial
Next, take the time to better understand the different types
of aid available to you. Scholarships and Grants are the best
kind of financial aid since they're "free money"
that you don't have to pay back. FinAid
are two useful links for gathering information on available
scholarships and grants.There is also school-sponsored funding
such as Federal Work-Study. These programs are government
subsidized, need-based on-campus employment opportunities
for students. For more information, contact your Financial
Aid Administrator. If your total need isn't met by the resources
above, consider Federal Stafford
Loans. These loans are awarded on the basis of financial
need, and are regulated by the federal government. Finally,
an alternative private loan, such as a CitiAssist®
Loan, can lessen the gap between all financial aid sources
and the money that you'll need for school. Check out our Financial
Aid Options page for more information.
Apply for Financial Aid
The first step in applying for Financial Aid is to fill out
a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA),
a standard federal application that is used to determine your
eligibility for most forms of financial aid. Parents usually
provide the tax information needed to complete this form.
Send this in right after January 1, to increase your chances
of getting the aid you need. Also, don't forget to fill out
all required forms for those schools to which you are applying.
Be sure to send them in before the deadline. Four to six weeks
after you complete and submit the FAFSA, you will receive
a Student Aid Report (SAR).
The SAR is generated from the financial aid information that
you provided on the FAFSA. Based on this report, the schools
that accept you for admission will create financial aid award
packages that will be sent to you in the mail.
Evaluate Your Offers
When you receive your financial aid packages from the schools
to which you've been accepted, make sure you compare the offers
carefully. Each will provide you with information on how much
federal and state aid you are eligible for. Plus, your schools'
financial aid packages may also offer you various scholarship
and grant options. Be sure to accept admission to the school
of your choice by writing a letter. It's advisable to also
decline in writing to those schools you will not be attending.
Apply for Loans
If your school suggests that you apply for loans, apply for
the ones that they recommend. If you still need money, Citibank's
Loan can help you fill the gap.