A few weeks back, we blogged about starting the financial aid while waiting for your admission decision to arrive. Although it can be intimidating and confusing, it is important to start the process as early as possible. Before we jump into the process, let’s define a few financial aid terms:
1. Aid: Need-based aid refers to federal, state and university grants, federal student loans and federal student work-study. For consideration of need-based aid, you must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). We recommend each year that you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid online.
2. Merit & Talent Awards (also known as scholarships): Awards based on academic achievement or performance ability (scholarships). Those you do not have to pay back.
3. Loans: Students and parents who wish to borrow from any of the loan programs (ex: Federal Direct PLUS Loan or Private Loans) must determine their borrowing needs for the entire academic year before beginning the application process.
Now let’s cover some important dates:
- Gather the previous calendar year’s W2s and federal tax returns, and identification documents (social security cards, drivers licenses) for both the student and the parents.
- File the FAFSA (school code 001788) beginning January 1 of senior year, but no later than March 1.
- Financial aid administrators at the colleges where you’ve applied will use your EFC to determine how much aid you’ll get. Next you’ll receive the The Financial Aid Notification (FAN) is a complete overview of the financial aid offered to students eligible to receive financial aid based on merit or need. The FAN also includes an average cost of attendance, which is used to determine financial aid eligibility. You’ll receive a financial aid award letter that tells you the amount of aid you’ll receive for the school year and in what form: loan, grant or campus-based program.
- Once we have completed the review of your financial aid application, we will make an offer of financial aid available to you online at my.butler.edu (Self-Service – Student Center – Finances – Review/Accept/Decline Financial Aid). You can accept or decline each award, select a lender (if necessary) and report any outside scholarships.
- To help you consider your options, you can also fill out the Family Responsibility Worksheet (PDF) will guide you in evaluating the different financing options available and developing a plan for your investment in a Butler education.
We know that this is a quick overview of the process so for more in-depth information, please visit www.butler.edu/financial-aid.