You have questions about Financial Aid? We have answers.
1. Why do I need to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)? You must file this form to be eligible for federal and state aid. Go to www.FAFSA.ed.gov to apply.
2. Can the FAFSA be filed electronically? Yes. You may go to www.FAFSA.ed.gov to file the FAFSA online.
3. When do I file the FAFSA? Rose-Hulman's priority date is March 1st. Be sure to apply as soon as possible after January 1st of the year when you plan to enroll in a college, university or other school. You can apply for financial aid after March 1st, but you will not be considered for State of Indiana financial aid programs. You could also jeopardize your chances for institutional aid.
4. We don't have our tax forms completed yet; should we wait to file the FAFSA until we do? Completed 1040's make completing the FAFSA easier, but it is not essential that your 1040 be completed. You are allowed to use estimated information on the FAFSA. If you use estimated information, you will be asked to verify that information later. To ensure that you meet the March 10th filing deadline for Indiana, use either estimated or completed 1040 tax information.
5. Who completes the FAFSA? The student applicant and the parent(s) with whom the student lives fill out the FAFSA.
6. What if my parents are divorced, separated, or have remarried? If your parents are divorced or separated, you and the parent you live with fill out the FAFSA. If you live with a stepparent, his or her information must also be included on the FAFSA.
7. What should I do after completing my forms? Make photocopies to keep for your files.
8. What happens to my FAFSA when the Federal Processor receives it? The Federal Processing Center takes the information you provide on the FAFSA and uses it to calculate how much you and your parents can reasonably pay toward college expenses. The federal processor also calculates your eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant.
9. How much will my family be expected to pay? The federal processor uses your FAFSA data and federally mandated formulas to calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Your parents' contribution will depend on their income, assets, family size, and number of family members enrolled in college. The parent contribution is not an estimate of how much extra cash they have on hand. It's the part of your educational expenses that the government determines your parents can afford. Also, most colleges expect you to help your parents pay for the cost of education. Your contribution will be based on your income and assets.
10. What happens after my FAFSA is processed? The Federal Processing Center will send the results and data from your application to all the colleges and universities that you list on your FAFSA. The Federal Processor will also send you a Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR will list your expected family contribution and eligibility for a Pell Grant.
11. What if I don't receive a Student Aid Report? If you have filed the FAFSA and have not received a SAR, you should call the Federal Processing Center at 319-337-5665. The processing center will help determine the status of your application.
12. Are there income cutoffs for federal and state aid? There are no clear income cutoffs. There are many factors which determine your financial need.
13. How does the Financial Aid Office (FAO) determine my financial need? The FAO first determines a budget for the costs to attend college and for basic living expenses. This budget includes tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and personal expenses. The FAO compares the budget to your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Using the equation, your financial need is calculated:
- Budget - EFC
- Your Financial Need
- Budget (costs of going to college)
- EFC (parent contribution + student contribution)
14. How does the FAO determine my awards? Using the federal and state guidelines, the FAO will examine your eligibility for federal, state, and institutional aid programs. It checks your eligibility for grants first, followed by your eligibility for student loans or federal work study. The FAO must also consider scholarships you are receiving from other sources. This process is called packaging. Will the FAO be able to fill my entire financial need? In some cases yes, in others no. There are limits on the amount of financial aid money available. Depending upon your situation, your costs may or may not be covered in full. The financial aid office strives to meet the student's financial need. It is very important to apply on time for full consideration for all financial aid programs.
15. How will I find out what I am eligible for? After your application has been reviewed and packaged, you will receive an award letter from the financial aid office. This letter will tell you the names and amounts of the awards that you are eligible to receive each quarter.
16. Do I need to borrow the entire suggested loan amount on my financial aid award letter? No. The FAO is indicating the maximum amount that you are eligible to borrow that year. You and your parents may want to determine your own personal budget. By looking at all the costs you expect to have each semester, your actual need for a student loan might be lower than the FAO has determined. If you want a lower loan amount, write that on the financial aid award letter and return it to the FAO.
17. Do I need to bring extra money for books and supplies? Yes. Although books are calculated into the cost of school they ARE NOT billed to you. Because some of your aid is not credited directly to your account, for example Work-Study, you will not have any extra money to cover the cost of books in most cases. The FAO suggests to ALL students to be prepared to purchase their books separately from their billing account.
18. Do I qualify for "independent" status? Won't I receive more money if I do? To be considered independent for financial aid, a student must meet at least one of the following qualifications:
- Be 24 years of age by December 31 of the award year.
- Be an orphan or a ward of the court.
- Be a veteran of the Armed Forces.
- Be married or have legal dependents other than a spouse at the time FAFSA is filed.
- Be a professional or graduate student.
If you do not meet at least one of these qualifications, you must provide both parent and student information on the financial aid application forms. Students with very unusual family circumstances, that can be clearly documented, may be able to appeal to their college's financial aid office. However, criteria are very strict and few appeals are approved.
Futhermore, just because a student is deemed independent does not necessarily mean that the student will be eligible for more financial aid.
19. Do I have to apply each year for aid? You must reapply for financial aid every year after January 1st for the next school year.
20. Are all aid programs based on financial need? No. There is aid that is not based on a student's financial need. This aid includes private and college scholarships that are awarded for merit, college major, or other factors. There are also federal loans that are not based on need.