For many parents, preparing for your student’s financial aid can be a stressful time. Questions often arise about how parents can prepare in advance to help make this process as painless as possible. As the fall 2011 semester approaches us, SAU Financial Aid director, Bronwyn Sneed, offers five tips to help with the financial aid process.
1. File your federal taxes early and keep a signed copy. The earlier you file, the quicker you can get more information about your student’s financial aid qualifications. Because you may be asked to complete the financial aid verification form, it is also important that you keep a signed copy of your tax forms with you.
2. File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students must have completed the FAFSA to be eligible for loans, grants, and Federal Work-study. Even if you know that your student will not qualify for any grants, your student must still complete the FAFSA if he or she anticipates finding a job on-campus.
3. File the Arkansas Academic Challenge application. Although it is too late to file the Arkansas Challenge scholarship for the Fall 2011 semester, this application is a “one stop shop” for all Arkansas state scholarship programs.
4. Check campus email. Have your student check his or her campus email at least three times per week, if not daily. Email is SAU’s official means of communication with your student. It’s important that your student checks his or her email regularly to ensure that they do not miss any important University announcements or communication.
5. Complete the consent form and direct deposit form. SAU direct deposits many forms of loans, grants, or private scholarships into your student’s personal checking or savings account instead of issuing paper checks. If your student doesn’t complete these forms, your student will not be able to receive his or her money.
If you have any questions, you may also contact the Office of Financial Aid at (870)235-4023. Due to the high volume of calls at this time of the year, please leave a message if you are not able to talk with a financial aid representative immediately. They will contact you back as soon as possible to assist you. Before calling, please have the following information ready to help answer your questions quickly:
1. Semester you are requesting information for (example: Summer 2011, Fall 2011, etc.).
2. Student social security number.
3. Prepare a list of questions in advance to help you remember those small details that you may forget to check on.