The cost of attending college consists of tuition; room and board; books and supplies; computer costs; transportation; and personal supplies and incidentals. The final cost is determined by the amount of financial aid a student is awarded subtracted from the total cost.
Types of Financial Aid:
- GRANTS – money from the state and federal resources which does not have to be repaid
- LOANS – money from federal sources and banks that must be repaid
- WORK STUDY – a program within the college that allows the student to work on campus and receive money. The money is not given up front or taken off one’s tuition. The student is paid when and if he or she works.
- SCHOLARSHIPS – money from private sources and the college itself. The student must apply for the scholarship and the money does not have to be repaid. Scholarships can be need-based or merit- based.
The ACHS guidance office lists local scholarships on our website as they become available. Other sources for scholarships can be found through the college itself, parents’ employers, and online databases.
A huge source of scholarship aid is the National Merit Scholarship Program. Students must take the PSAT in October of their junior year to participate. Many large corporations make funds available to those who score well on this test.
How Do I Apply for Financial Aid?
One of the first steps in the financial aid process is to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. The FAFSA will ask information regarding both the student and parents’ prior prior year’s taxes (For a student entering college in the fall 2020, use taxes from 2018). The FAFSA cannot be completed before October 1st of the student’s senior year. However, there is a useful tool on the FAFSA website – fafsa.ed.gov – called the FAFSA4caster. This tool allows you to input your information before the student’s senior year, and it will give you an idea of how much financial aid the student may be eligible for. Knowing this information will help with making college choices.
When it comes time to file the FAFSA, the parent and the student must first apply for a pin that becomes an electronic signature at http://www.pin.ed.gov. Then, the application can be completed online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Late filing of the FAFSA is the number one reason for receiving a reduced financial aid package or possibly no aid at all. Once the application has been processed, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). You will also receive an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) figure, which is the monetary amount your family is expected to pay for your college expenses.
Another form that colleges may require is the College Scholarship Search Profile (CSS Profile). This is a supplemental financial aid application used by over 450 schools (mostly highly selective colleges and universities). This form delves into the family finances at a deeper level (considers the value of your primary residence and retirement accounts). The reason private schools ask for additional information is because they use this information to provide aid from their own endowments that can often be substantial. There is a fee to file this form. This form can be accessed at http://student.collegeboard.org/css-financial- aid-profile. A list of schools that require this form can be found on this site. You must file the PROFILE online at www.collegeboard.org by selecting CSS/PROFILE under “Pay for College.” This form can be filed as early as October 1st.
A college may also have their own institutional form, but you will not know this without asking or if they send it to you automatically after applying for admission.
Why is the FAFSA Form Necessary to Complete?
The federal and state government use a needs analysis to determine who receives what money. The FAFSA is used to collect all of the required data. Once the FAFSA is filed, the information will go to the federal government, the state government, and each individual college. Colleges will use this information to provide you with a financial aid package. You have the option of sending this analysis to all the schoolsyou are considering. Complete this option, because it is difficult to add schools later.
Where Can I Find Out More Information?
Each year, the Atlantic City High School Guidance Department presents a Financial Aid Night. Check the Guidance website for the date and time. We also offer "Road to College Workshops" from 2:20-3:20pm afterschool Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in Rm. C110.