First Step: Compile information. It is important to understand where you want to go, and where you are coming from. From there, learn what your options are: federal, state, college aid, grants, loans and work-study programs.
Second Step: Make the decision. Applying for financial aid takes a lot of time so prepare to work for your money.
1. Federal Aid: In order to apply for Federal aid one has to submit a FAFSA (Federal Application for Federal Student Aid). The form takes a lot of work, so much in fact that eight million students claim they don’t apply merely because of the pain of the red-tape. Fortunately, for those of you who stick with it, the United States Department of Education allocates over $170 billion dollars for students that meet the criteria. The analysis process bases its appropriations on the Expected Family Contribution rate that is created out of your application.
-FAFSA is required for most state and college financial aid programs
-Eligibility can sometimes be hard to determine on paper. If you feel you have to explain the family monetary situation, do it. It can’t hurt.
2. State Aid: The State of Wisconsin Higher Education Aid requires the student to be a resident of the state of Wisconsin, have a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent, be enrolled in an undergraduate degree or certificate program, and be attending a non-profit college or university based in Wisconsin. Eligibility is determined by the need based assessment found in your FAFSA data. If eligible, grant will be no less than $250, no greater than $3000.
3. College Aid: Once again, for University of Wisconsin colleges, FAFSA is required to determine a student’s eligibility. From there students will receive an award offer that will explain how much they will receive and how the loans work.
-Please Note that if attending a private college a student will have to access the college’s specific financial aid program.
4. Other Options: If the offer is not quite what you were hoping, know that there are other avenues to head down. Please check out our scholarship blog to learn more.