It may seem basic, but the first step in obtaining any student financial aid is to apply. Many students never do, in the belief that they will not be eligible for funds. Temple experts Craig Fennell, director of Student Financial Services (SFS) and David Glezerman, assistant vice president and bursar, offer the following tips on applying for financial aid:
1. Both new and continuing college students should start working on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA as early as possible. It becomes available online at www.fafsa.ed.gov on January 1.
2. Students and parents of dependent students must have a federal PIN number to use as an electronic signature to file the FAFSA online. Visit the Department of Education PIN website to sign up for a PIN number. FAFSA requires one PIN for the student and a separate PIN for the parent.
3. Be thorough. Read the FAFSA instructions carefully. Never leave required questions blank, as it will delay processing of your application.
4. File the form yourself. The FAFSA is a free application. Don’t pay for a service to do it. If you need help, contact Temple’s Student Financial Services Office (see tip #10). Or use the free online FAFSA publication.
5. File on or before the March 1 deadline. This gives you the best chance of receiving all the financial aid you are eligible for.
6. Keep copies of each document you sign, including tax forms, in a folder or binder for easy access later if needed.
7. Read any information you receive about your application, awards, and disbursement procedures. If you are asked for additional information, such as tax returns or other forms, respond promptly to avoid delays in receiving your aid.
8. Ask for help. If you have questions or concerns about the financial aid process, contact SFS at 215-204-2244. To make an appointment to meet with a Temple financial counselor, call 215-204-3520. You can also request information by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
9. Also begin looking for alternative sources of educational assistance from private sources, such as fraternal organizations, unions, clubs, and churches.
10. Remember that financial knowledge is tied to student success. Learn as much as you can about financial aid, student loans and managing your finances. Temple’s SFS office has useful information.
For details and more helpful information on applying for financial aid, go to Temple’s Student Financial Services.