The Internet is a powerful tool in streamlining and easing the financial aid application process. Not only can you complete the application forms on the Web, but you can search for a wide variety of scholarships, grants and student loans.
FAFSA on the Web is an Internet application developed by the U.S. Department of Education that students and parents may use to complete an electronic Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Using a supported Web browser, students and parents may complete and submit their FAFSA information directly to the Department of Education's Central Processing System (CPS). After transmitting an application over the Internet, students can mail their signed signature page to the Department. The CPS will determine their eligibility for federal financial aid within 72 hours after receiving the completed application and forward that information electronically to the schools the student listed on the application.
Elon requires all first-time financial aid applicants who wish to be considered for non-federal need-based aid to file the CSS PROFILE form. Students and parents are now able to access PROFILE Online via the Internet from the College Board Online home page. The PROFILE must be filed online.
Hundreds of Web sites are set up specifically for this purpose. Start early! You can search using key words and phrases such as "scholarships," "student financial aid," "education loans," etc.
Mistakes and errors in filling out the application forms are by far the most frequent causes for delays in the application process. Read all the instructions before filling out the forms. Before submitting the FAFSA and PROFILE forms, double check both the instructions and the information you provided for accuracy. Mistakes and errors will cause your application to be delayed, and this may well result in missing priority deadline dates. When you receive the output documents from the processors, read all comments and check the information again and immediately correct any errors.
Despite the vast, and often times confusing, array of information available in publications and on the Internet, asking someone in person is often the best means for getting the help and information you need. High school guidance counselors are an excellent source of information and can help with many of the basic questions you may have. College financial aid officers are another excellent source of information and guidance. Contact Elon's Office of Financial Planning if you have questions or circumstances that do not seem to "fit" on a form. Our financial aid counselors will most likely have the answer.
Financial Aid Nights hosted by your local high school present another outstanding opportunity to get the personal attention and help you may need. These events typically feature an experienced financial aid officer from a nearby college who will make a presentation and answer individual questions.