Students interested in attending their CAAHEP-accredited ultrasound program often need help paying for tuition, fees, and books. There are many different types of financial aid, including federal and state grants, government-guaranteed loans, scholarships administered by the school’s financial aid office, tuition waivers, and others. When beginning your search for funding through the Financial Aid Office, one of the first things the student will be asked is whether the FAFSA form has been submitted.
FAFSA: A first step for ultrasound students
Today, most students are eligible for some type of student aid. Family income is no longer the only criterion considered, but income will influence the type of support the student is entitled to. Eligibility requires the following:
Be a US citizen, eligible non-citizen, or US citizen
Have earned a high school diploma or passed General Educational Development (GED) testing and obtained a high school equivalency certificate
Have a social security number
If a male between the ages of 18 and 25, be registered with the United States Select Service
Don’t default on student loans
It cannot be required to reimburse federal scholarships
He was not convicted of selling or possessing illicit drugs while receiving federal student aid
If the student can meet the eligibility requirements, it’s time to complete the FAFSA application. FAFSA stands for “Free Application for Federal Student Aid”. This is a US Department of Education-Office of Federal Student Aid form that is used to determine a student’s need for financial aid or intended family support. It is the first step in qualifying for financial aid.
Completing the FAFSA form
Ultrasound students must complete the FAFSA form well in advance of applying for student financial aid through the school’s financial aid office. The form can be filed with the Department of Education beginning in January of each year. The federal deadline can change every year, but for the a.y. 2014-2015 is June 30, 2015.
Timing is important because federal aid is distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Also, the school may have a filing deadline that must be met. The filing deadline can be the date the FAFSA is filed with the federal processor or the date the federal processor returns the needs analysis to the Financial Aid office.
Once ultrasound students choose the CAAHEP-accredited programs they wish to apply to, it is important to check with each school’s financial aid office. Everyone has a different set of rules, and failure to meet the FAFSA deadline will render the student ineligible for federal aid at the very least. Many schools use FAFSA needs analysis in distributing all available financial aid, not just federal dollars. Therefore, there are state deadlines for filing the FAFSA form as well.
The Department of Education encourages students to submit the FAFSA form as soon as possible after January 1st. The form can be filed online or a hard copy sent by mail.
Know the deadlines
The federal government has developed a helpful program called the FAFSA4caster that allows people to input some basic information and get an estimate of federal student aid eligibility. The estimate is presented on a “Cost of College Worksheet” which also has room to add estimated amounts of other funding sources the student may have available.
There are several deadlines to keep in mind when starting the application process:
Federal FAFSA deadline
Deadline for state contributions
University, college, or medical center financial aid deadline
If the ultrasound student applies for a bank loan or other private financial aid outside of the school process, there will be additional deadlines. Applications must be processed in time to get the money before tuition and fees are due.
Applying for financial aid of any kind takes organization. A good approach is to make a list of deadlines to make sure none are accidentally missed. The process is too important to risk missing application deadlines.