A handbook for students applying for college financial aid that includes a step-by-step guide to the sometimes-confusing Free Application for Federal Student Aid application forms.
The all-important FAFSA application can give students access to federal grants, loans and work-study programs, as well as state and individual college programs. This useful guide gets into the nitty-gritty of FAFSA, and Baumel answers even the most basic questions, beginning with the definition of “financial aid.” Two full chapters show applicants how to file online or by mail; the lengthy chapter on online filing provides page-by-page directions, and includes detailed instructions for obtaining electronic signatures, if needed. “Frequently asked questions” sections include answers to such elementary questions as “What is Selective Service?,” while clear headings and subheadings allow knowledgeable students to skip to more relevant material. “After the FAFSA” urges students to carefully review Student Aid Reports that they receive from colleges after applying, and there’s a full chapter about correcting any mistakes. The writer also briefly discusses and debunks common misconceptions about college financial aid programs, such as “I won’t qualify for financial aid if my family owns a house,” as well as how to retain financial aid in the future. In “Money-Saving Tips,” the author notes that private colleges can generally offer more aid than public schools and gives advice on meal plans and buying textbooks. However, the book’s sections on finding scholarships and the particulars about 529 college savings plans are less detailed and seem like add-ons given its core FAFSA focus.
Practical help for a crucial and daunting part of the college application process.