Students looking at getting financial aid at a Christian college may wonder if they need to complete the FAFSA form. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a form that students use when they apply for aid. It helps them qualify for both grants and loans that the government offers and for the aid that comes from the college itself. Though students usually need to use this form, they should look at how it works and what they can get when they use it.
What is Needed for the Form?
The main things that a student needs to complete the form is a school code and tax return. Unless the student is married, over the age of 24 or meets other criteria, he or she must use his or her parents’ tax returns. This shows the combined family income of the household and how much the family can contribute to the student’s costs. The school code is a unique code given to the college. Christian colleges should provide students with their codes and allow them to apply for financial aid based on the average cost of attending that college.
How Does the Form Determine Aid?
Students receive financial aid based on their estimated needs. The government uses the household income to determine the total contribution that the family can make. It will then compare that amount to the average cost of attendance at the school to create a balance between the two figures. The form also looks at the type of college the student wants to attend and whether anyone else in the family will attend college. Families with two or more children attending college usually get more financial aid. More aid also goes to those attending private schools such as Christian colleges.
What Aid is Available?
College students today receive aid from both their colleges and the government. According to Federal Student Aid, this can include awards and vouchers that go to those who grew up in foster care and those who worked for volunteer organizations. Tax benefits can help students and their parents reduce the amount they owe at the end of the year too. The financial aid at a Christian college that goes to those who use the FAFSA can include scholarships and grants available from the college too. Many students get government loans and grants and do work study.
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Any college that wants to give students aid from the state or federal government must have regional accreditation. The problem is that some Christian schools seek either national or religious accreditation instead. Only regional accreditation allows the college to get federal aid, which are organizations listed with the U.S. Department of Education. Christian colleges sometimes offer aid that other schools do not such as church matching grants. Students who receive grants from their churches to attend the college get a grant that matches that amount up to $500 or even $1,000. Some of these schools offer grants and scholarships for students who work for their churches too.
Getting financial aid is on the mind of many students applying to colleges today. They want to know how much it will cost and how much aid they can get. Correctly filling out the FAFSA is often a key step to getting financial aid at a Christian college.