By Tina Nguyen
Now is the time that many seniors are patiently waiting for the news of their acceptance (or rejection) from colleges. While the applications have been sent and done, seniors have to worry about the next step in their college process: money. The deadlines for financial aid are quickly approaching for students filling out FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and CSS/Financial Aid Profile on College Board. If students thought the Common App was hard, the FAFSA and CSS/Profile is another creature in itself. The FAFSA and CSS/Profile requires students to acquire and type in information from theirs and their parents’ tax forms (W-2s, income tax forms, tax reforms, and bank statements).
Both forms help determine a student’s eligibility for financial aid through estimates from last year’s tax forms including annual income, current assets, and demographic information. The FAFSA has different types of financial aid including the Pell Grant, Stafford Loan, Federal Perkins Loan, and Federal Work-Study Program. The FAFSA is required by all colleges for anyone looking into financial aid. Many colleges also require for students to fill out the CSS/Profile as well. The CSS/Profile is a product of College Board, and while the FAFSA is free and brief, the CSS/Profile costs $25 to fill out and $16 to send out per college. The CSS/Profile is more in depth than the FAFSA asking for data about your parents and yourself including household information, income and benefits (of 2011, 2012, and predicted 2013), assets, businesses, and expenses.
For many seniors, filling out these forms are both stressful and time consuming especially on top of their sports, after school clubs, work, and homework. Students worry over how much financial aid they will receive because the rule of thumb is often those who submit their forms earlier will receive more money that those who apply later. Money is a large determining factor for many students deciding whether to attend their expensive private dream school or a modest state school.