Financial Aid Application Checklist
Use this checklist to plan what you need to do to apply for and receive financial aid. Duplicate this checklist for each school to which you are applying. Due to limited resources, student aid is often awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Many of these checklist items have deadline dates so you should indicate the date by which you will need to complete each item. Check off each Action item as you complete it. You can get help for many of these Action items from each college's web site, your guidance or college counselor, or your local reference librarian.
Request financial aid information and application forms from the school to which you are planning to apply. Request information regarding any need-based and non-need-based institutional grants and scholarships. When you receive this information, note all required application materials and their deadlines below.
Request information from your state regarding all state student aid programs for postsecondary education and any required application forms and materials. When you receive this information, note all required application materials and their deadlines, many of which appear in the checklist below.
Investigate private sources of financial aid for college. Check with your school and local libraries, local businesses, and civic organizations, and your parent's employer (s). Take advantage of free internet scholarship search engines, such as:
o FinAid on the web www.finaid.org
o The College Board www.collegeboard.com
o FastWeb www.fastweb.com
o Scholarship Resource Network Express www.srnexpress.com
o GoCollege: The Collegiate Websource www.gocollege.com
Check the following sources to verify the legitimacy of any financial aid consultants or search services you may use or hire and for tips on avoiding scholarship scams:
o U.S. Department of Education: http://studentaid.ed.gov
o Federal Trade Commission:
o Better Business Bureau: www.bbb.com
Obtain a Federal Student Aid Personal Identification Number (FSA PIN) for use throughout the federal aid process during and after college from the Department of Education's PIN Web site at www.pin.ed.gov.
File your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible on or after October 1. You may file the FAFSA electronically using FAFSA on the Web, which contains built-in edits to help prevent costly mistakes, at www.fafsa.ed.gov. You may also file a paper FAFSA, obtained by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1 (800) 433-3243.
Complete and submit all institutional financial aid application materials before all deadlines.
Promptly respond to any school requests for additional information or documentation, such as copies of federal tax returns, verification worksheets, or other forms.
Review your Student Aid Report (SAR), which is sent to you via email after you file the FAFSA, for accuracy. If necessary, correct inaccurate items online at www.fafsa.ed.gov or on the paper SAR, if you receive one.
Read all application materials and financial aid notifications. Most financial aid funds have conditions for receipt and renewal, such as earning a certain grade point average (GPA) or being enrolled full time. Details are important, so be sure to avoid costly mistakes!
Complete the promissory note for any loan (s) you are offered and wish to accept. Before you sign the promissory note, make sure you read and understand all of your rights and responsibilities. Check with the financial aid office regarding any loan counseling you must complete before you may receive the loan proceeds.
If you have been awarded Federal Work Study (FWS) assistance, find out how students are placed in FWS positions and what FWS positions are available, including description of job responsibilities and wages.
Promptly notify the financial aid office of any outside or private scholarship, grant, or other types of student aid you have received or expect to receive.
Keep copies of all application materials in your records for future reference.