For most of us, graduating high school is an exciting time. You are becoming an adult and you have to make one of the most important decisions of your life. What will you choose as a career? There are some adults who currently face this question as well. Unfortunately, for many, it’s not the right question that needs to be asked. The question is, can I afford to go college?
According to collegedata.com, the average cost of tuition for 2015–2016 is $32,405 at private colleges, $9,410 for state residents at public colleges, and $23,893 for out-of-state residents attending public universities. According to the National Association of College Stores, textbooks have increased from $57 per textbook in 2007 to $79 per textbook in 2013. Some textbooks can carry a price tag of $200 per book. The high price of a college education makes it very difficult for students to both attend and stay in college to obtain a 2-4 year degree.
According to the Edward Jones poll over 83% of Americans do not attend college because they can’t afford it. That is a very high amount. For the ones who do attend, they end up having to drop out due to inflation. So what can you do? Learn about all of the programs that are designed to help students attend and stay in college.
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is for any undergraduate student with exceptional financial need. Anyone who has not yet applied for this grant qualifies. It is considered a campus-based aid. Therefore if approved, it will be directly applied to your school of choice.You can be awarded anywhere from $100 to $4,000 per semester. It does not have to be repaid.
The first step is to fill out an application called a Free Application For Student Aid (FAFSA) a completely free online application that assists students with qualifying for over $150 billion dollars in grants.
You should fill out a FAFSA even if you don’t think you qualify. It only takes about 30 minutes to complete. First you will need a FSA ID number. You can also get one assigned as you fill out your application. You can visit FAFSA to apply right now for free. There is no need to pay anyone to fill out this application for you. Most colleges and high school counselors will walk you through the application process step by step. Please visit FAFSA to apply directly.
How to Fill Out the FAFSA
Filling out a FAFSA is your first step in the right direction to apply for the FSEOG and other financial assistance. It will put you into a system that will inform you of every federal opportunity you may qualify for. Here is a list of documents you need prior to applying:
- Your social security number, as well as your parents.
- Your alien registration number if not a US citizen.
- Your driver’s licence or permit ID number.
- Your tax return information.
- Information on any assets you or your parents have i.e cars, homes, investments etc.
- You must list the college where you want the application to be forwarded. You can add up to 10 schools. The schools you add will not be able to see other schools chosen.
Your privacy and information are protected. The FAFSA is a federal form and should be treated as such. You must be thorough and honest with any income or assets your household receives. If you work or live alone then your W2 will be essential in determining your eligibility. Your tax information will be transferred from the IRS, therefore, it is OK to estimate if you do not have the correct information at the time you apply.
An estimated 85% of students receive some form of financial aid. If you are concerned that your college of choice will not choose you because you are applying for the FSEOG please don’t be. Colleges and other educational institutions must give priority to students that qualify for the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. There are currently over 3,800 colleges and universities that accept the FSEOG. You can find statewide colleges and universities by subject and location here. You can also see if they accept federal funding. Due to possible financial/income changes, you will need to fill out a FAFSA on the yearly basis.
How To Qualify
Qualification varies from household to household. The way they determine your need is the cost of attendance minus expected family contribution, this determines your financial need. Basic qualifications for the FSEOG is:
- High school diploma or GED
- Accepted into a college or university
- Have a social security number or eligible non-citizen card
- Not owe any other federal student loans
- Maintain satisfactory academic grades and attendance
- You must be pursuing your first Bachelor’s degree
You do not want to miss out on an opportunity to qualify for any federal funds, it’s a first come first serve basis so you should apply as soon as you can. Every individual state and college determine the due date for the FAFSA application.
Most of the time your college will receive the funds directly. If you do receive a check it is important you go to your registrar’s office to learn if your tuition has been paid. At times you will receive money directly, this is to pay for books and other school supplies.
You have to keep in mind that federal grants are not intended to pay for your entire year’s tuition, but to supplement other grants and awards. The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant should be one of the weapons in your arsenal.
In conclusion, the government does provide financial assistance for you and your children to attend college. It is important you plan ahead. With most grants you will only qualify once. Therefore, if this is your second attempt at attending school or if you are furthering your education you may not meet the requirements for grants like FSEOG.