Categorized | Education & Safety

Time for college-bound seniors to fill out the FAFSA

Star Staff Reports

High school seniors planning to attend college or technical school this fall should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also called the FAFSA, as soon as possible, according to KHEAA.

The information on the FAFSA determines if students qualify for federal and state grants and for federal student loans. Also, many colleges use the information to award grants and scholarships administered by the school. Therefore, students should submit the FAFSA even if they feel it is unlikely they will qualify for aid.

The FAFSA asks for information about income, assets and expenses. A formula set by Congress determines eligibility for federal and state aid. If the student is considered a dependent under federal guidelines, both the student and parents must provide financial information. Nearly all students going directly to college from high school are considered dependent.

Some student aid programs have limited money and provide funds on a first-come, first-served basis to qualified students, so it is important to submit the FAFSA as soon as possible.

For faster results, KHEAA recommends that students submit the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.gov, although they may also be mailed to the FAFSA processor.

KHEAA is a public, non-profit agency established in 1966 to improve students’ access to college. It provides information about financial aid and financial literacy at no cost to students and parents. KHEAA partners with Overture Technologies to provide the KHEAA Student Loan Marketplace at www.kheaamarketplace.com to help students and parents find the private college loan that best suits their needs. KHEAA also provides the ThinkAhead Net Price Calculator to universities and colleges. The calculator, available on a school’s website, lets students and parents determine their out-of-pocket costs for attending that school. KHEAA also helps colleges manage their student loan default rates and verify information submitted on the FAFSA.

 

Play your cards right

As students become more responsible for paying their own bills, they need to be aware of the types of cards available, according to KHEAA–Alabama.

Debit cards are tied to a bank account. When someone uses a debit card, the money is automatically deducted from the account. Most colleges issue a type of debit card to students that can be used to buy books, supplies and meals. In that case, the card is not tied to a bank account but is preloaded with funds deposited each semester or quarter.

When a debit card has been lost or stolen, report it to the bank or credit union immediately to limit losses from unauthorized use.

Credit cards offer what is essentially an interest-free loan if the balance is paid in full each month. Students who use credit cards should pay them off at the end of each pay period when possible to avoid paying interest fees. Most credit cards also offer cash advance services at a higher interest rate.

Lost or stolen credit cards should also be reported immediately. However, there is a $50 limit to the consumer’s liability on fraudulent charges with stolen credit cards.

ATM cards allow users to withdraw cash from their accounts when the bank or credit union is closed. Most banks and credit unions charge a fee when ATM cards are used at a machine not owned by that institution’s network, and those fees can add up. Students should not use an ATM card outside their network unless absolutely necessary.

KHEAA is a public, non-profit agency established in 1966 to improve students’ access to college. It provides information about financial aid and financial literacy at no cost to students and parents. KHEAA partners with Overture Technologies to provide the KHEAA Student Loan Marketplace at www.kheaamarketplace.com to help students and parents find the private college loan that best suits their needs. KHEAA also provides the ThinkAhead Net Price Calculator to universities and colleges. The calculator, available on a school’s website, lets students and parents determine their out-of-pocket costs for attending that school. KHEAA also helps colleges manage their student loan default rates and verify information submitted on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

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