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Financial Aid for Community College: What is FAFSA? (page 2)

By — John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Updated on Jul 20, 2010

Financial Aid Tips

What You Can Get in Your Package

You might be eligible to receive assistance in several ways"grants, loans, work-study, and scholarships. Receiving one form of assistance doesn't necessarily preclude you from receiving another, but they will all be balanced together to form your financial aid package.

How much you receive depends on factors such as:

  • Cost of attending the college
  • Your financial need
  • Availability of funds
  • Your college's aid policies and federal and state financial aid programs in which they participate
  • The number of students who request or need financial
    assistance

The financial aid office will use federal and state guidelines to examine your eligibility for federal, state, and institutional aid programs based on your financial need. Staff will check your eligibility for grants and scholarships first, followed by your eligibility for the Federal Work-Study program or student loans. Scholarships from outside sources are also considered. The final product will be your financial aid package.

When the financial aid office has determined what your financial aid package will be, you will receive an award letter. It will tell you:

  • The amount of your financial need
  • How your financial need was determined
  • Types and amounts of aid offered
  • How and when you will receive the funds
  • Student employment conditions if you are in a work-study program
  • The terms and conditions of the offer, such as the number of credit hours you must take each semester or quarter to remain eligible or the academic requirements you must meet to maintain your funding
  • Whether or not the award is subject to availability of funds

It's important to understand that your financial aid package may not cover all of your financial need, but it will go a long way to making college more affordable for you. You also can accept some or all of the financial aid package. For example, if you decide that you'd rather not have a loan, you can decline that portion of the package.  Whatever you decide to accept or decline, you do need to inform the college!

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