Story by Samantha Tipler | Herald and News
Counselors at high schools and colleges in the Klamath Basin agree, there’s one big tip for high school seniors thinking about going to college: Get your FAFSA done early.
FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It’s the first step toward getting grants, student loans and into work study programs to help pay for college.
“File your FAFSA as soon after midnight on Jan. 1 as possible,” said Janie Kirkpatrick, Klamath Union High School counselor.
“The biggest tip I can recommend is to file the FAFSA in early January, as some sources of aid are limited,” said Jason Coatney, Oregon Tech senior financial aid counselor.
To start an application, go to www.fafsa.gov.
Make sure it is not fafsa.com, Coatney said.
Filling out a FAFSA is free and many high schools and both Oregon Tech and Klamath Community College hosted events in the fall and will host events in the new year to help students fill out the paperwork.
“Completing and submitting the FAFSA is free and easier than ever, and it gives you access to the largest source of financial aid to pay for college or career school,” the FAFSA information webpage says. Types of aid include Federal Pell Grants, federal work study programs and the two federal loan programs: Federal Perkins Loan Program and the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program.
How it works
A video on the studentaid.ed.gov website explains the FAFSA process like this:
The FAFSA takes the cost of attendance, the total amount it will cost to go to that school, and subtracts the expected family contribution, or EFC. That’s how much the FAFSA expects your family to able to afford. It is not necessarily the amount the student will have to pay.
The FAFSA takes the cost of attendance, minus the EFC, and arrives at the financial need.
The college uses the financial need and other information to determine how much financial ad the student will receive.
To see the video, go to: http://bit.ly/1Oq27at.
“Complete your FAFSA as early as you can in January to maximize your chance for an opportunity grant and to meet the requirements of the Oregon Promise,” said Julie Murray-Jensen, vice president of external programs at Klamath Community College.
The Oregon Promise is new this year. Oregon is offering up to $10 million to 2016 high school graduates and GED earners to pick up the college tuition bill after a student applies for and receives all other state and federal assistance. That means filling out the FAFSA. Whatever the FAFSA shows is not covered by grants and loans, the Oregon Promise could pay for.