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Frequently Asked Questions by Students
- Should students pay someone to help them find or apply for
student financial aid?
The quick answer is: Free help is generally available, whether a student is looking for sources of student aid or completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If there's a fee involved, students should find out exactly what they are paying for-and get the agreement in writing.
- Where can students get free information about student aid?
The following sources usually have information about aid from the federal and state governments; most can also tell students about funds from local communities and private sources as well.
- A college or career school financial aid office. The student should talk to the financial aid administrator at the school he or she plans to attend. Be sure the student asks about "institutional aid"-money the school itself awards students. The school's catalog and Web site are also good sources of information about aid available at the school.
- A local or college library. Relevant materials are usually listed under "student aid" or "financial aid." If the student needs help, he or she should ask the reference librarian.
- The Internet. Search using the key words "student aid" or "financial aid." Remember that many scams operate over the Internet, so if an Internet service charges a fee, the student should research it carefully. Better yet, the student can use one of the many free Internet search services or aid information sites.
- What if students want more detailed information about federal
The federal student aid Web site, called Student Aid on the Web, covers every aspect of a student's life from preparing for school through entering student loan repayment and includes detailed information about the federal student aid programs and application process.
You can also refer students to our Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC): 800-4-FED-AID (800-433-3243). TTY for the hearing-impaired: 1-800-730-8913.
Students may request copies of the FAFSA on the Web Worksheet or Funding Education Beyond High School: The Guide to Federal Student Aid from the FSAIC. If you would like to order federal student aid publications in bulk to distribute to your students, visit FSAPubs.
- Who offers free help with completing the FAFSA?
Students may apply for federal student aid at no cost by applying electronically with FAFSA on the Web at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Paper FAFSAs are available from the FSAIC, but the online application is a much faster process.
Some private companies charge a fee to help students complete the FAFSA. Students can get free help from
- the FSAIC,
- the financial aid administrator at the student's college or career school,
- FAFSA on the Web's online help, or
- the U.S.Department of Education online guide called Completing the FAFSA.
- What about aid from other government agencies?
Student aid is also available from other federal agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. For links to such information, visit http://www.usa.gov.
- Who can give me detailed information about state student aid?
Students should contact the state higher education agency. Click here for a list of state agencies and their contact information, including links to agency Web sites. Students also may call the FSAIC for state agency phone numbers.