Determine Your State and Federal Financial Aid Eligibility

There are many methods you can employ to lower your financial burden as you improve yourself and enhance your future. One of the first places you should look for financial assistance is financial aid.

You can apply for financial aid quickly, easily, and online. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is a simple form that will help to determine your eligibility for both state and federal grants. When you visit the Federal Student Aid website, you will be given detailed, step-by-step instructions while you are completing the application. This heightened level of explanation for each area of the form removes any questions you might have. It also makes completing the FAFSA pain-free. Best of all, you do not need to complete a separate FAFSA for each institution for which you apply. This saves you time and makes it that much easier to attend the school that is best for you.

As you complete the FAFSA, you'll find there are a few short steps regarding your financial information. This is what the federal government uses to determine your need. Basically, the lower your income is, the more money you are likely to be awarded. Your financial statement will be checked against your income tax returns to verify how much, or how little, you earn each year.

Do You Have to Provide Your Parents' Financial Information?

The FAFSA asks for financial information from your parents. This can be confusing to some students, especially if you are a young adult who no longer lives at home. You may question if you need to include parent information, especially if they are not financially responsible for you anymore.

Students that are considered to be "dependent students" by the federal government must submit financial information regardless of whether or not their parents provide financial support. You are a dependent student if you are under 23 years old and unmarried. There may be times when it is difficult to provide parental information. In this case, you may submit the FAFSA, but it will be considered incomplete. You can contact your school's financial aid office to assist with you if you are a dependent student who cannot provide your parent's financial records.

You are not considered a dependent student if any of the following are true: You are twenty-three years old or older You are currently married You are entering a graduate program You currently serve in any branch of the US Armed Forces You have children or other dependents who rely on you for financial support Both parents are deceased and you have no other legal guardian A court has declared you to be an emancipated minor You have been determined to be a homeless, unaccompanied youth.

Students that are not dependent must still provide parental information if they are seeking a degree in the health industry.

How Much Will You Be Granted?

You can't know the exact amount of your state or federal financial aid until you complete the FAFSA. At this point, you will receive an award letter that will tell you the exact amount that you are eligible for in both state and federal grants. The most well known federal grant, the Pell Grant, pays a maximum of $5,550 for the lowest income individuals. Many states offer their own grants as well. The amount of your state grant will vary as well.

The only way you can know exactly how much you will be granted is to apply to your chosen institution(s) and complete the FAFSA. Applications are simple and the FAFSA is free. You are under no commitment when you complete the application. Get started right now so that you can find out immediately and exactly how much is granted to you.

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