Getting into college

When you’re wanting to go back to college or enroll for the first time, you’re alone. There are millions of individuals who didn’t go to college after completing high school and went into the military, got a job, or started a family, and now want to return to college to attend a part-time or full-time program, on-campus or off campus, and more and more student opt for distance education through online courses.

Start college as a freshman. When you completed your high school education some time back, it could be that you are unsure about how to start your college education and school search. Most colleges have counselors or study advisers especially to support adult or other non-traditional students.

You should get in touch with an admissions officer at your preferred school to learn all about programs for adults. The Campus Tours section of this site contains contact information for admission offices. Also, check out KHEAA’s online publication, Adults Returning to School for useful information.

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The FAFSA and Other Financial Aid Applications

graduation23sThe FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and it’s a very important part of your preparation for college. This is the form that needs to be filled out before you can qualify for any federal or state student aid. Not only does it need to be filled out, it needs to be filled out correctly.

The financial aid information provided on the form will automatically be sent to the school(s) listed on the FAFSA and to KHEAA.

The best way to obtain and file the FAFSA is online. You can use your library, high school, or home computer to apply for federal student aid via FAFSA on the Web (an interactive Web page).

You can complete a FAFSA online and send your data over the Internet at www.fafsa.ed.gov. A brochure titled FAFSA on the Web is available from the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) by calling (800) 4FED-AID ([800] 433-3243).

The computer you use must have one of the following browsers: Netscape Navigator 4.76 or higher, MS Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher, or AOL 5.0 or higher. If you have any questions about FAFSA on the Web, call (800) 4FED-AID.

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Financial Aid for Students Overview

0012aFinancial aid is the money you receive from a variety of sources to cover the cost of your education. The good news is that, regardless of income, most people are eligible for some form of financial aid.

Types of financial aid: Find out about the types of financial aid that are available. Some you need to pay back but there is aid that does not require repayment.

Am I “dependent” or “independent”?: One of the more important questions about financial aid is whether you’re considered a dependent or independent student. Here are the criteria the federal government uses in making this decision.

Is a credit card right for me?: One of the first things you’ll see when you get to campus will be booths where credit card companies want you to apply for a credit card. Now, credit cards can be useful things, but you need to use them intelligently. Think about these things before using a credit card a lot.

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FAQ about Financial Aid for Students

q1112aQ.How is financial aid awarded?
A.┬áIt’s awarded by financial need (need-based aid) or on academic achievement, athletics, or other talents (merit-based aid). Most financial aid is need-based but is often awarded in combination with merit-based awards.

Q.Who gives financial aid?
A.Schools, state and federal governments, and private businesses and organizations provide financial aid. But you and your family must pay as much as you can towards your school expenses.

Q.Who develops the financial aid process?
A.Generally, your school’s financial aid office develops your financial aid package based on guidelines and law. The package is typically a combination of grants, scholarships, work-study, and/or loans and depends on what funds are available.

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Are you Dependent or Independent student?

187291aOne of the more important questions about financial aid is whether you’re considered a dependent or independent student. Here are the criteria the federal government uses in making this decision. Am I “Dependent” or “Independent”?

Most students who are entering college straight from high school are considered dependent students. For the current academic year, you’re a dependent student unless at least one of the following applies to you:
You were born before January 1, 1981.
You’re married.
You’re enrolled in a master’s or doctorate program
You have children or other dependents who receive more than half their support
Both of your parents are deceased or you are or were a ward/dependent of the court until age 18.

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Types of Schools

0483xsmallIt’s decision time! Your choices are almost limitless, but deciding what’s best for you can be a difficult task. Ask yourself some questions.

Do I want to be close to home or far away?
Do I want the greater opportunities of a large university or the more personal, homelike environment of a smaller college?
Which kind of school offers the courses I need to get the degree I want?
Am I more financially suited to a state university, private college, or a community/technical school?

Those are some of the BIG questions, but other things to consider might be the availability of the kinds of athletics and extracurricular activities you like. More than likely, there’s a school that will fit you perfectly . . . but it might take some research.

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