May 2, 2011
What if I Don’t Qualify for Federal Student Aid?
So, you (or your child) got accepted into your first and second college choices. Great! Two college to choose from! Everything seemed to be falling into place. That is, until you found out, that based on the information filled out on your FAFSA, you don’t qualify for Federal Student Aid to help you cover the cost of your higher education at either school. At this point, you may be asking yourself, “How can I ever afford a college education without Federal Student Aid?” Do you give up and consider other long term and career options? Definitely not. Do you sell all of your possessions to the local pawn shop? If you have an overabundance of “stuff” sitting around your house, then maybe … But chances are you don’t really want to sell all of your things, and the good thing is, you don’t have to. We (UHEAA Outreach) received this exact question via Twitter last Friday and this is what we had to say in reply:
Twitter Question: “@uheaa -Have 2 teens headed to college. Any links you suggest for aid if can’t qual for Gov’t help?”
UHEAA Outreach Reply: “Bryan from the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority here. Thank you so much for reaching out to us. Paying for college, especially when you don’t qualify for federal aid, can be a challenging road to navigate. The good news is, there are many great resources out there to help guide you and your college bound students along the way.
The first resource to point out would be the ‘Free Application for Federal Student Aid’ or ‘FAFSA.’ Don’t let the issue that you don’t qualify for Federal Aid fool you; The FAFSA is the gateway to all things financial aid, not just federal student loans and Pell grants. In order to be eligible for most school based grants and scholarships and also most general scholarships or grant programs, you must fill out and file the FAFSA. So, if you have not already, I strongly recommend that you file the FAFSA for both of your children.
The official FAFSA website received a makeover over the past year resulting in a much easier and quicker filing process. There are many fraudulent FAFSA imitation websites on the net, so be sure that you use the official site to file.
For an explanation of what exactly goes on after you file the FAFSA, take a look at this blog article: “What Happens After the FAFSA?”
Once the FAFSA is filed and processed, the doors of financial aid are wide open for exploration. Now, where to go to conduct this exploring?
For Utah students, the best place to search for scholarships and aid is UtahFutures.org. If your children are enrolled in a Utah High School, chances are they already have a profile on UtahFutures. If not, go ahead and set up a free account to start utilizing the site’s abundance of resources on planning, preparing and paying for college.
- Quick Link (must have/set up UtahFutures account to access): UtahFutures Scholarship Search
- Another good place to look for aid is at the colleges or universities that your children are enrolled in or accepted to. It is best to call the school’s financial aid office to ask about what sort of school based grants and scholarships are available.
- Fastweb – Fastweb members are matched to relevant scholarship opportunities completely free of charge. With roughly 1.5 million scholarships worth over $3.4 billion, there are scholarships for every student’s educational goals, activities and interests.
In addition to these resources, another place to learn more about paying and preparing for college is at Spring College Fairs. Our organization is administering six college fairs throughout all of Utah that are completely free of charge to attend (and hey, they’re really fun!). You can find more info and register for any of our college fairs here.
I hope this information was of assistance to you. Please let us know if you have any other questions!
Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority – Outreach”
The same goes for you! If you don’t qualify for federal student aid and have questions, please leave us a comment and we’ll reply quickly.