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Financial Aid Made Easy

 
 
Paying for college is a daunting task, but the following steps can help to make the process less intimidating. 

Step 1. Determining which form to file 
 
Call the financial aid office of every college you plan on attending or check online to determine what financial aid forms are required. All colleges will require the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for federal student aid. In addition, some colleges will request the completion of the College Scholarship Service’s Financial Aid PROFILE, institutional aid forms or other supplemental forms. Check the filing deadlines for each school you apply; late filers may lose eligibility for many scholarships and collegiate aid. Schools may have one deadline for the FAFSA and another one for admissions—BE AWARE. Do not miss deadlines!    
 
 Step 2. Completion of PROFILE
 
If your school requires the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE, complete it online now to avoid missing deadlines at www.collegeboard.com. There is a fee for filing.
 
Step 3. Institutional Aid Forms or Supplemental Forms  
 
Check with the financial aid office on filing procedures for all institutional aid forms and any other supplemental forms necessary for awarding financial aid. Do not miss deadlines! 
 
Step 4. File for a FSA ID
 
In order to complete the FAFSA, one parent and the student will need to process a FSA ID (electronic legal signature) application. Go to https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm and follow the instructions. You will use the FSA ID to electronically file the FAFSA each year. Parents and students must both have separate email accounts in order to register for a FSA ID. Do not use your TCTC email, since it will be disabled after graduation and email accounts must be active. A new enhancement to the FSA ID is ability to enter verified cell phone numbers in order to receive important texts. As with the emails, parents and students cannot use the same cell phone number. You will also need to create challenge questions, so make sure you use questions that will not change over time and that both parent and student know the answers. A new feature for 2017 will be option to enter an important date as the fifth challenge question. You should write down the answers, and keep it in a secure area. It takes at least 8-10 minutes before you can use the FSA ID,so you should order this before you complete the FAFSA. 
 
Step 5. Complete the FAFSA Worksheet 
 
FAFSA worksheets can be downloaded at ?www.StudentAid.gov/resources#worksheet. You will need the following to complete the worksheet/FAFSA: 2016 completed 1040 income tax return and W-2’s, student driver’s license, any non-tax income (such as disability benefits, workman's compensation, or child support) and your family’s net worth.
 
Common Mistakes to Watch For
 
Using the wrong social security number: Most parents do the FAFSA forms for their children; therefore, it is very easy to copy the wrong SSN or to use their own SSN. Wrong Social Security numbers will not match and will cause an error in submitting. Be careful to use the correct SSN. Avoid using nicknames. The federal government matches the birthdate and SSN with names submitted. Incorrect matches will result in an error. Make sure you use the correct school year. Current seniors should use the 2018-2019 0FAFSA which is not available until October 1st.
 
Special Circumstances 
 
If you have special circumstances (change of income, tuition at an elementary or secondary school, high medical bills, unusual debt or one-time income, or parent in college), file the FAFSA with 2016 year’s income and call the financial aid office of the school you plan on attending. In many instances, the financial aid office can change the income reported to reflect this year’s income or circumstances.
 
Dependency Status  
 
All applicants for federal students aid are considered either “independent” or “dependent”. Dependent students are required to include information about their parents on the FAFSA. According to the Federal Student Aid website If you answer no to the following questions then, you are considered a dependent student and you must provide your parental information: Will you be 24 or older by Dec. 31 of the school year for which you are applying for financial aid; will you be working toward a master’s or doctorate degree (such as M.A., M.B.A., M.D., J.D., Ph.D., Ed.D., etc.); as of today are you married (Also answer “Yes” if you are separated but not divorced); do you now have - or will you have - children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019; do you have dependents (other than your children or a spouse) who live with you and receive more than half of their support from you now and through June 30, 2019; at any time since you turned age 13, were both of your parents deceased, were you in foster care, or were you a dependent or ward of the court; has it been decided by a court in your state of legal residence that you are an emancipated minor or that someone other than your parent or stepparent has legal guardianship of you (You also should answer “Yes” if you are now an adult but were in legal guardianship or were emancipated minor immediately before you reached the age of being an adult in your state. Answer “No” if the court papers say “custody” rather than guardianship); are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. armed forces for purposes other than training (If you are a National Guard or Reserves enlistee, are you on active duty for other than state or training purposes?); are you a veteran of the U.S. armed forces; At any time on or after July 1, 2017, were you determined to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless, as determined by (a) your high school or district homeless liaison, (b) the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the US Dept. of Housing & Urban Development, or (c) the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program? If you still have questions, them contact the financial aid of the college you plan on attending for instructions on how to complete the FAFSA. 
 
Who’s My Parent 
 
According to the Federal Student Aid website, here are the guidelines to help you determine who to report on the FAFSA: If your legal parents (your biological and/or adoptive parents, or parents as determined by the state [e.g., a parent listed on your birth certificate]) are married to each other, answer the questions about both of them, regardless of whether your parents are of the same or opposite sex; If your legal parents are not married to each other and live together, answer the questions about both of them, regardless of whether your parents are of the same or opposite sex; and f your legal parent is widowed or was never married, answer the questions about that parent. ?If parents are divorced or separated?: In this case, how you fill out the FAFSA form depends on whether your parents live together or not. For FAFSA purposes, your married parents are separated if they are considered legally separated by a state, or if they are legally married but have chosen to live separate lives, including living in separate households, as though they were not married. When two married persons live as a married couple but are separated by physical distance (or have separate households), they are considered married for FAFSA purposes. 
 
Divorced or Separated Parents Who Do Not Live Together: If your parents are divorced or separated and don’t live together, answer the questions about the parent with whom you lived more during the past 12 months. If you lived the same amount of time with each divorced or separated parent, give answers about the parent who provided more financial support during the past 12 months or during the most recent 12 months that you actually received support from a parent. Divorced or Separated Parents Who Live Together: If your divorced parents live together, you’ll indicate their marital status as “Unmarried and both legal parents living together,” and you will answer questions about both of them on the FAFSA form. If your separated parents live together, you’ll indicate their marital status as “Married or remarried” (NOT “Divorced or separated”), and you will answer questions about both of them on the FAFSA form. 
 
What if I have a stepparent? If you have a stepparent who is married to the legal parent whose information you’re reporting, you must provide information about that stepparent as well. EXCEPTION: The FAFSA form asks about your parents’ education level. For these two questions, your parents are considered to be your birth parents or adoptive parents—your stepparent is not your parent in these questions. ?I?ncluding your stepparent’s information on the FAFSA form helps create an accurate picture of your family’s total financial strength. What if my stepparent is widowed? If your stepparent was married to your parent but is now widowed, that stepparent doesn’t count as a parent on your FAFSA form unless he or she has legally adopted you. What if my parents are in a same-sex marriage? Same-sex couples must report their marital status as married if they were legally married in a state or other jurisdiction (foreign country), without regard to where they live or where the student will be going to school. The FAFSA questions use gender-neutral terminology for married parents (“Parent 1 (father/mother/stepparent)” and “Parent 2 (father/mother/stepparent)” instead of “mother” and “father”). It does not matter which parent completes which set of questions.
 
What if I live with someone other than my parents? It doesn’t matter if you don’t live with your parent or parents; you still must report information about them. The following people are not your parents unless they have legally adopted you: grandparents, foster parents, legal guardians, older brothers or sisters, uncles or aunts, and widowed stepparents. If you still have questions, them contact the financial aid of the college you plan on attending for instructions on how to complete the FAFSA.
 
Step 6. Register for the Selective Service
 
Males (between 18 and 25) will not be eligible for federal financial aid unless they register for Selective Service. To insure that there are no problems with your financial aid, males should say “yes” to the question on the FAFSA that gives permission for the federal government to register the student for the Selective Service.  
 
Step 7. Completion of the FAFSA Online
 
Once the worksheet is complete, you are ready to file the FAFSA online. The FAFSA cannot be completed until after October 1st and the first year that you will use prior-prior year taxes to complete the FAFSA. Submit your FAFSA as soon as possible, since some financial aid funds are limited at each school and many schools operate on a first come, first served basis. Go to www.fafsa.ed.gov and file for the FAFSA for 2017-2018 academic year. To avoid scams, make sure you use this website only. There is no filing fee for completing the FAFSA; if the website you are on requests payment, stop and cancel and make sure you go the Federal site www.fafsa.ed.gov. The FAFSA is able to link with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to retrieve tax data for easier and more accurate FAFSA completion. In order to receive the best financial aid award package and to save valuable time, it has been suggested that parents and students utilize the IRS Data Match Retrieval tool when completing the FAFSA. You will need students’ and parents’ 2016 income tax returns. By using the IRS Data Match Retrieval tool, the chance of being selected for verification (an often lengthy process that schools use to verify the information you provided is accurate) is greatly reduced, thus maximizing the ability to receive the most financial aid available. In addition, the most complicated and most incorrectly reported FAFSA questions will be populated into the form for you. Please note: starting October 1, 2017, the IRS data sent to the FAFSA form will be encrypted, so you will not be able to see the answers. By not using the IRS tool, the chances are high that you will be selected for verification, thus delaying your financial aid package and possibly losing the chance for extra aid. You cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval Match tool if you are married filing separately, filed a foreign tax return, or have an amended tax return. Tip: The name and address must match exactly on the tax return and FAFSA for the IRS Data Retrieval tool to work. Make sure there are no typos when typing the address on the FAFSA. Before you submit your application, take the time to review your answers for accuracy—make changes now. Correcting mistakes after submitting the FAFSA can waste time and may mean a loss of collegiate aid and may also flag your application for verification. Submit the application online and print the confirmation page. You should check your emails after submitting to see if you have received an email stating information is missing or there are errors. Students should also check their college emails for any messages from the financial aid office. 
 
What Happens Next?
 
The colleges you indicate on your FAFSA will automatically receive your FAFSA information, and within 72 hours you will be emailed your Student Aid Report (SAR), which summarizes your application. This is your official record to be used for financial aid. If you want to make changes to the SAR, go back to the FAFSA—website: ?www.fafsa.ed.gov?. NOTE: if you make more than two changes after receiving your first SAR—STOP— call the financial aid office for further assistance. You will be given an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) on your SAR. This is the figure that the colleges will use to award financial aid. You may be randomly selected for verification by the Federal government or by your school. You will not receive any financial aid until you complete the verification paperwork sent by the financial aid office at the school you plan on attending. Failure to complete and mail the verification paperwork along with your IRS Tax Return Transcript (request online at ?http://www.irs.gov/ or 1-800-908-9946) in a timely manner may result in a loss of some collegiate aid. Make sure you order a tax return transcript not tax account transcript. Note: This year dependent students who did not and are not required to file a tax return, do not need to get confirmation of nonfiling status from the IRS. You should complete verification at all of the schools you plan on attending.
 
The Award Offer
 
Once the financial aid office at each school you sent your SAR verifies that your SAR is complete, they will work up a financial aid package based on your EFC, PROFILE, or Institutional Aid Forms. Schools determine your financial aid based on the Cost of Education (COE), minus the EFC, to equal the financial need. Schools use this formula to award financial aid. Financial aid may include the following: federal or state grants, institutional grants, scholarships, federal student or parent loans, work-study, and institutional aid or loans. You will be notified of your financial aid package in the form of an award letter and/or you may receive a national standardized “Shopping Sheet”. Comparing the award offers from different colleges can help you to decide which college to attend. Do not forget to factor in the loan amount that you will have to repay before making your final decision. Make sure you return the award offer by the priority deadline listed on the award letter. Failure to return the award offer may result in the school canceling your award and giving it away to another student. If you have questions, or if your award letter does not provide enough aid to pay for college expenses, contact the financial aid office. Check out the “Award Offers” section of TCTC’s website to address award offers in more details. 
 
The biggest key to receiving the maximum financial aid 
 package is meeting the priority deadlines.  
Do not miss deadlines!
 
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Phone: 330-847-0503 | Fax: 330-847-0339

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The Trumbull Career and Technical Center will not discriminate nor tolerate harassment in its educational programs or activities for any reasons, including on the basis of religion, race, color, national origin, sex, disability, military status, ancestry, or age and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. Additionally, it will not discriminate in its employment policies and practices. If you have questions, have witnessed, or have experienced acts of discrimination based on these criteria and wish to express a grievance please contact the following:

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