The college search is an exciting and sometimes nerve-wracking time—for parents as well as students. There are so many things to do to prepare to send your child off to college. One “to-do list” item many parents dread is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. We’re here to help alleviate some of that FAFSA anxiety. Keep these tips in mind.
It’s not as bad as you think and we’re here to help.
Both you and your student will need a PIN.
This allows you to electronically sign the FAFSA and gain access to federal student aid websites. You can get a pin at www.pin.ed.gov.
The FAFSA is free.
Don’t pay to submit the form or have anyone complete the form for you. If you need assistance, contact our office. File your FAFSA at: www.fafsa.gov.
It’s OK to use estimated information.
You don’t need to wait to complete your tax return before submitting your FAFSA. Use the best information you have available. You’ll be able to update your FAFSA once you’ve filed your taxes.
Submit your FAFSA by February 15.
We recommend this deadline to ensure you’re eligible for all available funds. You can submit your FAFSA at any time, but we recommend you do it early to help you plan.
Have the information you need before you start.
This includes your PIN, social security numbers, 2014 federal tax returns –or estimates, bank and brokerage statements.
Make sure both the parent and student sign the FAFSA.
The FAFSA won’t be processed until both the parent and student provide a PIN or signature.
Review your Student Aid Report.
This is your confirmation that your FAFSA was processed and provides important follow up information. It also provides instructions on how to update your FAFSA, if needed.
Make sure your student reads any email sent by the FAFSA processor or the financial aid office. Requests for additional information will be sent to the email address he or she submitted on the admission application.
Need more help?
Check out this video or contact our office at
10 Tips About Financial Aid
Apply for admission.
When reviewing your admission application we'll also look for any scholarships for which you're eligible.
Complete your FAFSA.
Need help? Check out the 7 Easy Steps to the FAFSA video or contact our office at
Review your Financial Aid Award.
Once we've received your FAFSA we'll send you a financial aid letter that outlines any grants, loans or work-study that you may receive. We'll also include a link to the Albion College Information System (ACIS). This is your on-line portal that will give you all the details about each award and any outstanding requirements.
Complete your Financing Plan.
Included with your award notification will be your personalized financing plan that allows you to consider other resources that you'll have available to assist with your college costs.
Accept your aid.
Log into your ACIS account and accept any loans or work that you'd like. You'll also need to accept the Terms and Conditions for your scholarships.
Complete your loan counseling and promissory notes.
If you've accepted any loans you'll need to complete a promissory note – that's your agreement to repay the loan. And, you'll also be required to complete loan counseling. You can do both of those on-line. Your ACIS information will have the links for you to complete those requirements.
Make a plan to pay your bill.
We'll send your fall semester in early July. You can make sure all of your financial aid is ready to be applied to your bill by checking your financial aid requirements in ACIS. If you need additional resources to pay your bill now is the time to explore those.
Consider other resources.
There are additional loan programs – the PLUS loan for parents and alternative loans - to help cover your costs. You can learn more about those on our loan page. The college also has a payment plan through HigherOne.
Authorize your parents to have access.
If you'd like to have your parents get a copy of your bill you'll need to add them as an authorized user on your account. You can sign them up on our Authorized Users page. You also may provide them access to view your ACIS account under the Proxy Menu option.
Read your emails and check your ACIS account to make sure your file is complete. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on available scholarships and learning opportunities through the Financial Skills Center.
Greetings From Albion
Congratulations on your high school graduation! As you look forward to the next stage in your life, there are lots of reasons to pick Albion College.
Above, Albion students reflect on why their education was so valuable. Make your deposit by May 1, and you’ll look back and see Albion was worth it too.
10 Things to Do When Starting Your College Search.
Some people make their college choice early, some wait until the mailbox starts filling up, and others follow the aid dollars. But everyone can benefit from a few sage bits of advice. Ten sage bits, to be exact.
Watch the mailbox.
You've probably been thinking about college since freshman year. By junior year you'll start getting a lot of materials from schools. There could be good reasons you're on their list. Find out why.
Do your research.
It's more exciting than any project you've been assigned so far, but exploring your college options can be more intense, too. Reading up in print and online is a must, but asking around is useful, too. Go to college fairs in your area and talk to admission representatives when they visit your school.
Talk to your counselor.
He will help steer you in the right direction (and occasionally steer you away from a dream college). It's his job to help you succeed. Put him to work for you.
Meet with a graduate.
When you find a school that interests you, it becomes easy to talk with someone who went there (alumni love to relive their college days). They can give you valuable insights—and cool stories.
Talk to your favorite teacher.
The things she learned in college made her the teacher you like today. Who knows? Your teacher might have even attended one of the schools you're leaning toward.
Go on campus visits.
There's a right way to do this (and we have a "Ten Things" card for it), and you can learn a lot of things that aren't in print. Get a feel for campus life, the facilities, the professors, and all the things that make a college the right fit.
Do the math.
College is a big investment in your future. But with the proper strategy, it can be done. Remember to look at more than just the price tag—see what scholarships and other sources of funding are available.
Make a list.
Write down your top college choices in order, with your dream college as number one. Now look at the last college on your list and come up with five reasons why it might work out better than number one. Why? Read on.
Prepare for disappointment.
Your first choice might not happen—not right away, at least. Being flexible and dealing with setbacks are great skills to have in college and in the future.
Prepare for excitement.
No matter which college accepts you, it's an amazing feeling. Planning your next steps will be more challenging than the last nine. (And we look at those steps in the box above.)