Mark Kantrowitz, an expert on financial aid, answers select reader questions about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Part 4.
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This article is written by an expert on paying for college and the founder of FinAid.org. He answers some select reader questions about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid in this article. Some major questions that are applicable for me are that, if Fafsa applications are to qualify for loans or aid that does not need to be repaid? What does the term “need-based financial aid” means? For what condition should i apply for Fafsa and when a student is entering her second or subsequent year of college, can she expect to receive similar aid to what she received her freshman year? These questions are anwered in very general tone for better understanding. First of all, students should still file the Fafsa to apply for need-based financial aid. Students and parents often underestimate eligibility for need-based financial aid. If the scholarship actually exceeds your financial need, you will still be able to get the Unsubsidized Stafford and Parent PLUSloans to pay for your remaining share of college costs. Second of all, a student’s financial need is the difference between the total cost of attending a college and the student’s expected family contribution(E.F.C.) toward paying for college. The E.F.C. is calculated by a complicated formula based on the data reported in the student’s Fafsa. The federal government, state government, and most colleges provide financial aid to students based on their financial need. The Fafsa is used to apply for this need-based financial aid, which includes grants (money that does not need to be repaid), education loans (money that must be repaid, often with interest) and student employment (money that must be earned). Lastly, about half of all colleges practice front-loading of grants, in which the proportion of grants to loans in the financial aid package is higher during the freshman year than during subsequent years. So the net price will increase. These answers are very applicable for many students other than myself. Also, the article in general provides great advices and the information in it is very reliable.