Each year, I remind families that before you put your taxes behind you for another year, you need to make sure you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid – the FAFSA. The FAFSA is the application every college, including degree-granting art schools like Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, uses to determine what financial aid a student may be eligible for, including grants, scholarships, loans, and work study.
It’s best to apply early.
For priority consideration for PCA&D institutional scholarships and grants complete the Free Application of Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 1. Last year, more than 90% of PCA&D students received some form of aid.
Once you have your family’s (both yours and your parent’s) federal taxes complete, go to www.fafsa.ed.gov. You do not need to be a tax expert to complete the FAFSA and much of the actual tax section can be transferred directly from the IRS. For most people, the FAFSA takes less than a half hour to complete.
Other than your taxes you will also need some basic information:
- Your social security number and that of your parents, if you are a dependent (most students under 24 are).
- Your driver’s license number, if you have one.
- The names of the colleges you are applying to (for PCA&D, search for “Pennsylvania College of Art & Design” or use code 016021).
- Your family’s assets, including the amount in checking, saving, and investments.
When you submit the FAFSA for processing, a copy called the Student Aid Report (SAR) will come to you via email and a copy called the Institution Student Information Record (ISIR) will be electronically sent to all of the colleges (up to 10) you list on your FAFSA.
Once you are accepted to a college and they have a copy of your ISIR, the financial aid office will be in touch with you. Sometimes more information is needed before aid can be determined. Many FAFSA applications are selected for a process called Verification, where the school is required to collect documents from the family to double check the accuracy of the submitted FAFSA. If errors are found, the school will correct and resubmit the FAFSA.
After the college has an accurate FAFSA, their Financial Aid office will send out what is called an Award Letter or Financial Aid Package. This is often a letter, which will show what aid a student is eligible to receive. Students may be eligible for grants and/or scholarships, which do not need to be paid back. These may come from a variety of sources such as the federal government, state, institution, or private sources. There are also Federal Direct Stafford Loans student loans (which are repaid with interest, but that do not require credit checks or co-signers), as well as federal loans for which parents may apply.
If you have a question about financial aid at PCA&D, please give me a call at (800)-689-0379 ext. 1013 or e-mail me at email@example.com. You can also learn more at: http://pcad.edu/admissions/financial-aid/