To apply for financial aid, including grants and scholarships that you won’t have to pay back, you need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Applying for financial aid doesn’t cost anything and only takes about an hour. Detailed instructions are available in the RI Financial Aid Handbook, published by the Division of Higher Education Assistance.
If you plan to attend college between July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018, you will file a 2017-2018 FAFSA. You can submit your form beginning October 1, 2016. The earlier you file, the better your chances of getting available aid!
The form requires you to submit information from your family's tax return about your family’s income, assets and your status as a resident. Each college you are considering will use funds from all available sources to create an aid package for you based on your financial need. The FAFSA4caster will help you understand your options for paying for college.
More information about filing the FAFSA is available at studentaid.ed.gov/sa/resources.
If you need help completing the application, your school guidance counselor can point you in the right direction. The College Planning Center of Rhode Island also offers free one-on-one support for students and families, or you can attend one of their FAFSA Completion Nights at a high school near you.