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
Student Account Bill
You've got your financial aid, you've developed your plan, now it's time to put it all together on your student account bill.
Getting Your Bill
In early July the College begins sending notification of your bill. This notification is sent as an email to you. If you'd like to have your parents get a copy you'll need to set them up as authorized users. If you're an entering student, you can do that at SOAR or by logging into ACIS and visiting the eBill section.
Understanding Your Bill
The charges reflected are only for the fall semester. Your financial aid offer and your financing plan are for the whole year, so the numbers will be different. Your bill will include your tuition, fees, room and board charges.
Financial Aid on Your Bill
Some of your financial aid will be reflected on your bill.
Some won't -- here's why:
Federal funds cannot be credited to your student account until ten days before the start of the semester. That includes, Pell and Supplemental Grants, Perkins and Direct Loans.
Michigan Tuition Grant funds will be applied when the State confirms your eligibility.
If you haven't completed all the requirements, we can't put funds on your account.
What Does 'Authorized Financial Aid' Mean?
These funds are all set and ready to pay. We are waiting until ten days before the beginning of the semester to put the funds on your student account (it's a federal rule, we can't put it on until then). These funds are already subtracted from the amount due on your bill.
What Are 'Memo Items'?
These are funds that are in process, meaning you are eligible for them, but you haven't completed all the requirements yet. In order to have these funds credited to your student account you need to complete the requirements—you can view those in your ACIS account.
Financing Plan for Entering Students
We understand that putting all the pieces together to finance a college education can be confusing, so we've developed a personalized Plan to help navigate all the options to help pay your student account bill. You will receive your Plan with your financial aid award.
These are the items that will appear on your student account with the College. You'll need to pay these costs or have a payment plan in place before the start of the academic year.
Scholarships and Grants
Grants and scholarships do not have to be repaid. Your Albion Merit Scholarship is renewed for four years (two for transfer students), as long as you are making academic progress. You will need to agree to the Terms and Conditions in ACIS before your scholarship is credited to your account. Other grants and scholarships are usually based on financial need and a FAFSA needs to be completed each year to determine if you remain eligible for them. You may be required to submit a thank you note for your scholarship, check ACIS to get more information.
These funds are offered to you to help meet your costs; you do not have to accept them if you have other resources available. In order to receive loan funds you must complete a promissory note and entrance counseling. Instructions on how to do so are in ACIS. You are responsible for repaying those loans when you leave school. Loan funds can be applied to your student account when all the requirements are met.
Work-study funds are earned by working on-campus or with a community organization. You get a regular pay check that you can use to pay incidentals or apply to your student account.
You can use this section to calculate your contributions from savings, outside scholarships you've earned or funds you plan on borrowing through an outside bank or lender. You can add those up and place the total under the 'My Plan' section.
This section allows you to include contributions from savings or current income. It can also reflect resources from the PLUS Loan (a loan parents can borrow up to the cost of attendance) or available payment plans. Total those amounts and place that in the 'My Plan' section.
We've included your Albion costs that will be billed to you, as well as your financial aid resources. Using the amounts you've included from the student and parent resources sections, you can subtract all of your resources to determine your remaining direct cost. This is the amount you'll need to pay to the College.
These expenses are variable depending upon your spending patterns. The amounts we've listed are typical for most students, you can change them depending upon your spending habits.
Taking your remaining direct cost from above and adding your indirect costs you can see what's left. The goal is to have this amount equal zero, so you know all of your expenses are covered. If it's not then you'll want to either reduce your indirect costs, look at how to add some additional resources or a combination.
Understanding Your Award Letter
Financing Your Albion Education
It's a partnership we think is worth the investment.
With your financial aid award you'll receive a guide to help you understand your financial aid offer from Albion, provide you the starting point to developing your own personal Albion Financing Plan as well as navigate you through the first steps in paying your bill.
Financial Aid Offer
1. Cost of Attendance
Included in your cost of attendance are those expenses that are paid directly to the College (tuition, fees, room and board) as well as what we anticipate your other costs will be while attending. Those include your books and supplies, transportation and personal expenses which will vary depending on your spending habits, but we want to make sure you include those in your plans.
When comparing other aid offers, make sure you've included all of the same costs.
The amount on your College bill will include only tuition, fees, room and board.
2. Financial Aid Offered
We've listed all of the federal, state and institutional resources available to you. You can learn more about each of the funds and what you have to do to receive them by visiting your personal online financial aid award. We'll tell you more about that in the ACIS section below.
3. The Bottom Line
If you accept all of the financial aid offered to you, this is the amount your family will need to contribute. There are many ways to cover this portion. We'll help you understand all the options by completing your personal Albion Financing Plan.
4. What Now?
Visit ACIS. That's the Albion College Information System and has all your important information you'll need as a student; including your personal online financial aid award. Information on how to receive all your financial aid awards is included here. If we need more information to complete your file, we'll list that under the requirements section as well. This is a site you'll want to visit often.
Develop Your Albion Financing Plan. We understand that navigating the financial realities of paying for college is complex. We're here to help, starting with walking you through the pieces of your Plan. But, that's just the start. We'll work with you to help fill in the blanks and explore all the options available to you.
Read Your E-mail. We don't want you to miss out on any funds available and we want to make sure your bill is paid on time. Sometimes we need to remind you about deadlines or documents that we need. We'll let you know by email; so read and succeed.