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  1. #1

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    Question about the FAFSA

    For those who filed the FAFSA to receive financial aide for college, I filed for the first time today. What happens now? Do I get a list of different loans and grants my son is eligible for? How do I accept or turn down the offers and how long do I wait before accepting?

  2. #2
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    It's been yeeeaaars since I went to college, but my sister works at an organization that does undergraduate financial aid policy, so you're in luck!

    She says you should get a Student Aid Report (SAR), with information about estimated eligibility for federal financial aid. And then you have to wait for the financial aid award letters from the colleges you were accepted at. That should include state aid awards, although those might require an additional application, depending on the state.

    So you basically have to sit tight. You choose the financial aid package when you decide which college to go to - each college will have their own offer.

    There's a video about it here: http://www.ed.gov/blog/2014/01/6-ste...out-the-fafsa/

    And next steps here: http://studentaid.ed.gov/fafsa/next-...-from-and-when

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    Thank you so much

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    It's been about 10 years since I worked in college financial aid, but I don't think the FAFSA has changed much. Usually at the end, there's a section to have the FAFSA results sent to the colleges that your student wants to attend (maybe up to 5 choices?). When a college admissions/financial aid office receives the FAFSA, along with a formal application, that will trigger them to send a letter that includes the financial aid package that your student qualifies for. From what I remember, these usually start going out in February for most colleges, but I'd call the financial aid offices at the school your student is considering to ask about their timeline.

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    I remember getting a notice that I had my offers and I went and accepted them online. One thing to note is that some things come up AFTER school starts. I randomly got a notice that I had a check for $400 coming because some new grant came through that I qualified for. So keep checking your email even throughout the semester.
    -Brian
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  6. #6

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    The FAFSA generates a number -- your family's Expected Family Contribution (EFC) -- how much the formula expects that your family could contribute to college for that student for one year. It might not (likely won't) match your expectation. If your EFC is low enough, your student may be eligible for some federal Pell Grant money. All students who successfully file the FAFSA are also eligible for federally insured student loans.

    But...most financial aid for college students comes directly from the college..and what different colleges do with your FAFSA EFC varies a lot. Some give financial aid (grants, scholarships), allocate some of the federal aid the college gets as a block grant (work study, Perkins loans) and even college-sponsored loans. If you have need (the way they define need) the college may (rarely) meet your full need. Most of the time they don't, or do so with loans.

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    I received, accepted, declined, etc., all award offers online in my college's system. It's likely that this will happen for your son as well and he will have to accept or decline them. I do not recall getting a notice that they were there, but I may have. They were normally there in July or so and I would look through them then. What kind of loan/grant it was was always listed. So, once your son gets his school e-mail address, he should start checking it at least once a week, and log into the online system and learn it as soon as he can so that he knows where to find these things. I remember freshmen who arrived the week before classes who hadn't even bothered to check their e-mail yet and were shocked to find e-mails from their professors, deadlines that had passed, etc.

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