A few weeks back, we decoded admission specific language for you. Now it’s time to share the ins-and-outs of Financial Aid terminology. Before we jump into the financial aid process in the next few weeks, let’s define a few terms you might need to familiarize yourself with:
- 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.
- Expected Family Contribution (EFC): This is calculated by the federal methodology using information you provided on the FAFSA.
- Grants: Grants are a form of financial aid, based on need, which you do not have to repay.
- Merit & Talent Awards (also known as scholarships): Awards based on academic achievement or performance ability (scholarships). Those you do not have to pay back.
- 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.
- Verification: Verification is a process used to verify certain information on the FAFSA to ensure its accuracy. Some students are selected for verification by the U.S. Department of Education and others are selected by the school. Not sure what to do if you’ve been selected for verification? Visit the eCampusTours website for more information. The Office of Financial Aid will also send you more information if you are selected for this 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) between January 1 and March 1.
- The Office of Financial Aid will use your EFC to determine how much aid you’ll receive.
- The Financial Aid Notification (FAN) will be mailed to you after March 15. This 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.
- Your offer of financial aid will be available to you online at my.butler.edu (Self-Service – Student Center – Finances – Review/Accept/Decline Financial Aid) after you’ve received your award letter. 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.