To apply to the subsidized programs described above, the DOE requires a student to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). To be eligible to receive aid from one of these programs, a student must meet the following requirements:
- Demonstrate financial need (see below).
- Have graduated from high school or have earned a G.E.D.
- Be enrolled as an undergraduate in an eligible program of study.
- Maintain a level of satisfactory academic progress in a degree-oriented program.
- Certify that you are borrowing to pay for educational purposes.
- Not be in default on any other student loans nor owe a refund of prior loans or grants.
- Must not have been previously incarcerated.
- Have a Social Security number.
- Be either a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
- Have registered with the Selective Service, if required.
Financial aid applicants fall into one of three categories.
- Dependent students. For students who are claimed as a dependent on someone else's income tax return, the EFC formula is based on assets and income of parents and student.
- Independent student with no dependent(s) other than a spouse. The expected contribution is based on the married couple's combined assets and income.
- Independent student with dependent(s) other than a spouse. The expected contribution is based on the married couple's combined assets and income.
You may wish to refer to the worksheet used by financial-aid officials at the DOE's Information for Financial Aid Professional website to calculate your EFC for the 2016-17 financial aid year.
The above information is educational and should not be interpreted as financial advice. For advice that is specific to your circumstances, you should consult a financial or tax adviser.
Next, we'll take a look at using tax credits to help pay for college.