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Learn How To Apply For Financial Aid

Q. What kind of expenses does financial aid cover?
A. Financial aid must be used to pay the cost of education, which may include:
• tuition
• fees
• books
• supplies
• other education-related expenses (when funds are available)

Q. How do I apply for federal financial aid?
A. Visit the EXCEL campus nearest you and one of our financial aid advisors will be happy to help you. They are experts in developing financial aid packages according to government guidelines and regulations. Financial aid packages are usually a combination of federal grants, loans, and / or scholarships. Note that grants and scholarships can be need-based or merit-based, based on the availability of funds. In order to be considered for any federal aid at EXCEL, you must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form using EXCEL’s school code: 04184800. You might also have to file separate applications for institutional scholarships. Check with your financial advisor for details.

Q. Do I need to be admitted before I can apply for financial aid at your school? 
A. No. You can apply for financial aid any time. To actually receive funds, however, you must be admitted and enrolled at EXCEL.

Q. Where can I get information about federal student financial aid?
A. Feel free to stop by the EXCEL campus nearest you, or call (915) 777-3944. One of our financial aid advisors will be happy to help you. You can also call 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) and ask for a free copy of The Student Guide: Financial Aid. This toll-free hotline is run by the US Department of Education and can answer questions about federal student aid programs and applications.

Q. Where can I get a copy of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form?
A. The vast majority of applicants complete the electronic version of the form at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov; all of our financial aid advisors have the ability to process the FAFSA application electronically. You can also get the printed version of the FAFSA form from the financial aid office at any EXCEL campus, at your local public library, and / or by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).

Q. Do I have to reapply for financial aid every year?
A. Yes. According to federal regulations, students are required to apply for financial aid every year. After all, if your financial circumstances change, you could be eligible for more or less aid. Each year, the US Department of Education will send you a “Renewal Application” with preprinted information from the previous year. So, if your financial circumstances have not changed, it will be relatively easy to complete.

Q. I don’t think I’ll qualify for financial aid. Should I still apply for FAFSA?
A. Yes. It doesn’t cost you anything to apply for FAFSA, and our financial aid office can help you fill out the form. Also, some sources of financial aid, such as unsubsidized Stafford and PLUS loans, are available regardless of need. So, even if you don’t qualify for need-based aid, you could qualify based on merit.

Q. When should I submit my FAFSA form to the federal government? Will I need to wait until my taxes or my parents’ taxes (for dependent students) have been processed to file?
A. FAFSA forms are accepted any time; you don’t have to wait until after you’ve filed your taxes to apply for FAFSA because you can estimate your income. You will have an opportunity to correct any errors later.

Q. How do I apply for a Pell Grant and other types of need-based aid? 
A. Submit a FAFSA. To indicate interest in student loans and parent loans, you should check the appropriate boxes. Checking these boxes does not commit you to accepting these types of aid. You will have the opportunity to accept or decline each part of your aid package later. Leaving these boxes unchecked will not increase the amount of grants you receive.
Q. What’s the difference between a “dependent” and an “independent” student?
A. A dependent student is one who is required to use parental information on the FAFSA form. Independent students use only their own financial and personal information.

Q. My mother and father do not support me and I am no longer living at home; can I apply for financial aid on my own?
A. In order to be considered an independent student, you must meet one of the following criteria:
• Be at least 24 years of age before January 1 of the award year for which you are applying
• Be an orphan or ward of the court
• Have a child/children for whom you provide more than half their financial support
• Be a married student
• Be a veteran of the armed forces
• Be a graduate student
• Have a legal dependent other than a spouse or child
If you do not meet one of the above criteria and you want to apply for federal aid, the US Department of Education will require you to supply parental information and signatures.
Q. My parents are divorced / separated and I am no longer living with either of them. Which parent’s tax information will I need to supply?
A. The parent with whom you lived the most during the past 12 months should complete the application. If you lived with each parent for an equal amount of time, you will need the parent who provided you with the most financial support during the last year to complete the application.

Q. I had a guardian until I turned 18. I am now between 18 and 24, and I no longer live with my guardian. Will my guardian still need to fill out the financial aid application?
A. Yes, if your guardian has been legally appointed by a court to support you with his or her own resources, and that support will continue while you attend EXCEL. Otherwise, your guardian is not required to complete the form. Please visit our financial aid office for further information.

Q. Do I let you know if my marital status changes or the size of my family changes during the school year?
A. Yes, please let us know if you experience these type of changes during the school year. Our counselors will advise you if any adjustment to your award is possible.

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