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applying to go back to school/financial aid . . . where to begin?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I had a lightbulb moment the other day and realized I need to go back to school (I'm now 35, havent been in school for 14 years.)  can someone please refresh me on the application process?  Do i fill out financial aid forms first and put the codes of schools i am interested in?  and then apply simultaneously to said schools?  or do you wait and see how much aid you get?

 

also, i would be applying for part time classes (i need 6 to fulfill requirement to take the lactation consultant boards) and would not be matriculated - but i believe i will still qualify for some aid, correct?  i know ny has a specific part time grant, and we are super low-income.  basically, i am interested in the 2 school closest to my home - one is a community college, the other is nyu.  guess where i'd rather go :)  but not sure how much aid i can get for part time.

 

also, i guess i could just go speak to someone in admissions at either/both schools?

 

i would love if you student mamas could give me some direction here, i'm not even sure if i'm asking the right questions!

 

TIA!

post #2 of 4

At least in my experience, you get in to the school first. Then you apply for financial aid with that school on the form - the forms automatically get sent into the school you're accepted to. I'm not sure about PT programs and how that works - it might be best to go talk to a counselor at the local school first.... they can give you a lot of information about what CC's in your area cost and what aid is available, but also what comparisons would be with 4yr schools, grad schools, etc.

post #3 of 4
The earlier you apply for financial aid, the better. Most deadlines for "priority" are between March-April (depends on the school). I will be filling out FAFSA's online for both DH and I the same day I file our taxes (you need this info).

It's really easy, and you'll get an EFC right away, which is your Family's Expected Contribution. This is what the individual schools base your fin aid packages on. Speaking of, you just need to know both school's code (found on their website - or you can search it when you fill out the fafsa) and you do not have to have applied or been accepted before doing so. I am including three different schools this time (as I am planning on transferring next fall), and won't have even applied to one of them until spring semester is over. What will determine who you get aid from is who you end up accepting a spot and registering for classes at - you can review their fin aid packages before you decide.

 

post #4 of 4

1) Fill out & submit online FAFSA asap, including school codes for each program for which you are interested (call schools for codes). If you miss the very early application deadline (the priority deadline), you miss out on some aid. The FAFSA is the federal form, and is required by all programs offering Stafford Loans and Pell Grants (your main sources of money). You can always add missed school codes later, so the most important thing is to get FAFSA turned in asap. It will require your tax & spousal information.

2) Call up each school academic program, talk to their financial aid departments & ask if you qualify for aid as a non-matriculated student. At my university, people only qualify if they are officially enrolled in a degreed program; certificate programs & part-time courses do NOT qualify for aid unless there is simultaneous enrollment in an undergraduate or graduate degreed program. Also, each school caps the amount offered & has unique of sources aid (ie. grants, loans, scholarships), so call to find out what their caps are for low-income, adult students (to make sure you can afford school).

3) Apply to both programs asap. Fill out their individual applications for financial aid, indicating that you will need it if accepted.

4) Sign up for GRE now if you are planning graduate school. This is required for most programs. Also, start working on letters of recommendations, and update your resume to submit w/ your application (if requested by program).

 

Good luck!

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