Financial Aid Tips
We understand that college is a big decision. We also understand that trying to figure out ways to pay for it can be an even bigger decision. It’s a lot to think about and we feel your pain. We are here to help you break this large task into small tasks. Creating a solid plan early is half the battle. Let’s get started.
October has become the new month for prospective college students and parents to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
According to the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators website, nasfaa.org, “President Barack Obama took executive action in 2015 to allow the use of prior-prior year (PPY) tax information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).”
This has proven to be a positive decision. Because it allows students and parents to see what kind of federal student aid they will qualify for much earlier in the college enrollment process than the original spring time frame. Also, the fall time frame now usually lines up with most college or university’s institutional scholarship offer timeline.
The FAFSA is required if you will use federal aid such as the Pell Grant, Subsidized or Unsubsidized loans, and/or state aid (The Arkansas Academic Challenge). If you don’t know if you want to use any of these aid types don’t worry. Completing the FAFSA does not mean you need to use any of these funds. This is simply to see how much aid you qualify for.
Also, most colleges require you to complete a FAFSA . Then they can include all aid that you qualify for on your award letter. This way you can see everything that you qualify for in one place. This will help you choose how much you would like to use.
We counsel our students to only borrow what is necessary to cover college expenses. We also work hard to educate the student on how to repay their student loans after graduation.
We know that all of this can be very intimidating to students and parents. Especially if you are the first person in your family to attend college. It can very easily come across as a foreign language and we understand that. Like I said at the beginning, we are here to help. Here are 7 steps you need to complete or know as you begin.
Step 1 – Create A FSA ID
Students & parents should both create their Federal Student Aid ID or FSA ID. This can and should be done October 1st of the student’s Senior year in high school.
Step 2 – Complete a FAFSA
Federal Student Aid offers more than loans. Students should apply for federal student aid by completing the FAFSA. When completing the FAFSA, you can add the school codes for each college you are considering. Central Baptist College’s school code is: 001093. Transfer students can update their FAFSA information starting in October prior to the year they will transfer schools.
Step 3 – Understand Your State’s Aid Options
Arkansas residents should complete the YOUniversal Application online by July 1st, or by February 1st if applying for Governor’s Distinguished Scholarship. These are great in-state scholarships to use, if you qualify.
Step 4 – Take Advantage Of Work Study
Federal Work Study is a program that you must qualify for based on your FAFSA information. On-campus jobs are available at most colleges that you will also have to qualify in addition to being eligible to receive federal work study aid. Ask your specific school’s Admissions or Financial Aid Counselor about their Federal Work Study employment process.
Step 5 – Scholarship Lingo
Institutional Aid is what schools call scholarships. Colleges and universities typically discount the cost of tuition and fees. So, don’t get sticker shock when you see the initial cost. Wait until you receive your scholarship package to compare.
When comparing your scholarship packages between schools be sure to compare the amount you owe after scholarships are awarded. Not just the scholarship amount. Just because one scholarship is larger than another, doesn’t necessarily mean that school will be more affordable.
Also, be sure to fully understand the fee structure. Sometimes credit hour cost is less but mandatory fees can make the overall cost much more expensive. Explore cbc.edu/investment to understand our costs, aid options and comparability to other colleges.
Step 6 – Apply for Endowed Scholarships
Endowed Scholarships are cash awards from the college, that are donated by alumni and friends of the college. They are typically combined with other college scholarships. However, consult your Admissions or Financial Aid representative for specific details. Also, you will typically need to apply for these awards separately but that’s not always the case.
For a list of Central Baptist College’s endowed scholarships and how to apply for them, visit cbc.edu/financialaid. Click on scholarships, then endowed scholarships. The deadline to apply is March 15th each year.
Step 7 – Outside Scholarships
There are so many great outside scholarship options available for students. Many major companies have brand scholarship opportunities. Also, your local chamber of commerce is a good place to ask about scholarship opportunities. We have gathered some of our favorite scholarships on our website for your convenience. Visit cbc.edu/financialaid and click scholarships.
Another option is to find a scholarship generating website. These are time savers! We highly recommend fastweb.com. You can create an account profile. So that, scholarship opportunities are matched and emailed to you. We subscribe to the motto, “every little bit helps.”
Do not pay for a service to help you fill out your FAFSA. There is a reason the word “free” is in the name. There are plenty of free resources at fafsa.ed.gov. If you need more help please don’t hesitate to contact our staff cbc.edu/financialaid. They would love to assist you in the process.
These simple steps will get you ready to start receiving college offers from your top choice schools! However, if you still would like more help fafsa.ed.gov also has great college planning resources, repayment education and much, much more. Or for great, easy to understand, FAFSA videos visit the Federal Student Aid YouTube Channel.
We understand college is one of life’s major decisions and you want to be sure you make the right choice. We are committed to help you find the best college fit for you!
Get more information about us at cbc.edu/WhyCBC and schedule a personal campus visit. We look forward to meeting you soon.
Written by Ryan Johnson, Vice President for Enrollment Management