Every student planning on applying to a sonography program should plan on applying for financial aid. There are many types of financial aid available in 2016. Students do not have to accept the financial aid package the school assembles, but applying for the financial aid is the only way to learn the types and amount of aid the student is eligible to receive. The first step is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Reasons to Complete the FAFSA
The FAFSA is standard form used by most higher education institutions that offer financial aid and by all schools that are registered to award the U.S. Department of Education financial aid. It is a major document in the financial aid application process that is used to determine eligibility for all types of aid, including government subsidized financial aid, college sponsored financial aid, educational loans through financial institutions and work-study programs. Using the generic form makes it easier for schools to fairly distribute financial aid to any student needing help with college expenses.
Following are some more reasons to complete the FAFSA:
- Can designate the FAFSA information on a single application be sent to up to 10 schools
- Information is shared with state agencies in all the states the 10 schools are located, maximizing financial aid access
- Will determine eligibility for many of the college administered sonography scholarships and grants that do have to be paid back
- Encourages students to think about financial planning to better manage educational expenses
- Greatly speeds up the search for financial aid
The first step is reviewing the eligibility requirements which are listed at here. Once eligibility is ascertained, the second step is obtaining a Federal Student Aid PIN number that enables the student to electronically sign the form.
Then it is time to assemble the information needed to complete the FAFSA form.
Collecting Required FAFSA Information
The FAFSA form asks many questions about sources of income, current financial status and much more. Approaching the application in an organized manner will greatly simplify the process and reduce the amount of time it takes to complete it. The Department of Education says it should only take an average of 23 minutes to complete the form, and that is only possible if the applicant has the information at hand while filling in the blanks.
Following are the items or information needed:
- Federal Student Aid PIN which should be obtained before starting the FAFSA application
- Driver’s license number, if the student has one
- Social Security Number
- Alien Registration Number, if the student is not a U.S. citizen
- Prior year tax records for reporting income, with the prior year being the year right before the FAFSA year
- List of untaxed income, like child support and veterans benefits
- List of balances in savings and checking accounts
- List of investments in assets, including stocks, bonds, real estate, money markets, etc.
- List of up to 10 schools offering a CAAHEP accredited sonography program, as long as the FAFSA is submitted online
- Academic information like schools attended
- Other facts about personal history concerning drug convictions and selective service registration
If the student is considered a dependent, as defined by the federal government, the parents or guardian will have to also provide the same information except for the driver’s license number and the school names.
Financial aid will help pay for college credits taken as prerequisites, and Diagnostic Medical Sonography degree programs and certificate programs. Students should NOT wait to complete the FAFSA form until a sonography program is selected. If the student ends up getting into a sonography program that is not on the original list of 10 schools, the FAFSA form can be updated. Students who wait to complete the FAFSA are likely to find the available financial aid is already allocated.
Do Not Wait For Sonography Program Application Process
Each sonography program has school-specified tuition and student fees (information by state) that financial aid will help cover. It also possible to get funds that help pay for books, dorm fees and program fees. Completing sonography programs without having incurred a lot of debt is the end goal. For convenience, the FAFSA can and should be renewed each year.
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