Sonography Education: Financial Aid Begins With FAFSA

Students interested in attending their CAAHEP accredited sonography program of choice often need help paying for tuition, fees and books. There are many different types of financial aid, including federal and state grants, government backed loans, scholarships administered by the school’s financial aid office, tuition waivers and others. When beginning the search for funding through the financial aid office, one of the first things the student will be asked is whether the FAFSA form has been submitted.

FAFSA: A First Step for Sonography Students

Today, most students can qualify for some type of student aid. Family income is no longer the only criteria considered, but income will influence the type of aid the student qualifies for. Eligibility does require the following:

  • Be a U.S. citizen, eligible non-citizen or U.S. national
  • Have earned a high school diploma or passed the General Educational Development (GED) tests and earned a Certificate of High School Equivalency
  • Have a Social Security Number
  • If a male aged 18 to 25 years old, be registered with the U.S. Selective Service
  • Not be in default on student loans
  • Cannot owe federal student grant refunds
  • Has not been convicted of selling or possessing illicit drugs while receiving federal student aid

If the student can meet the eligibility requirements, it is time to complete the FAFSA application. FAFSA is the acronym for “Free Application for Federal Student Aid.” It is a U.S. Department of Education-Office of Federal Student Aid form that is used to determine the student’s need for financial aid or the Expected Family Contribution. It is the first step in qualifying for financial aid.

Completing the FAFSA Form

Sonography students should complete the FAFSA form well in advance of applying for financial student aid through the school’s financial aid office. The form can be filed with the Department of Education beginning in January of each year. Each year the federal deadline can change, but it is June 30, 2015 for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Timing is important because federal aid is distributed on a first-come first-serve basis. In addition, the school may have a filing deadline that must be met. The filing deadline may be the date the FAFSA was submitted to the federal processor or the date the federal processor returns the needs analysis to the financial aid office.

Once sonography students choose the CAAHEP accredited programs they want to apply to, it is important to check with the financial aid office at each school. Each one has a different set of rules, and missing the FAFSA deadline will make the student ineligible for federal aid as a minimum. Many schools use the FAFSA needs analysis in the distribution of all available financial aid, and not just the federal dollars. Therefore, there are state deadlines for filing the FAFSA form also.

The Department of Education encourages students to file the FAFSA form as soon as possible after the first of January. The form can be filed online or a paper copy sent through the mail.

Know the Deadlines

The federal government has developed a helpful program called the FAFSA4caster that enables people to enter some basic information and get an estimate of federal student aid eligibility. The estimate is presented on a “College Cost Worksheet” which also has room to add estimated amounts of other sources of funding the student may have available.

There are many deadlines to keep in mind when starting the application process:

  • Federal FAFSA deadline
  • State financial aid deadline
  • University, college, or medical center financial aid deadline
  • Scholarship deadlines

If the sonography student is applying for a bank loan or other private financial aid outside the school’s process, there will be additional deadlines. The applications must be processed in time to obtain the money before the school’s tuition and fees are due.

Applying for financial aid of any kind requires being organized. A good approach is to make a list of deadlines to ensure none is accidentally missed. The process is too important to risk missing application deadlines.

Online Degrees and Financial Aid

Online education

Online education is a very popular area of interest these days. There are several reason why this subject has drawn so much attention but for good reason. As technology advances students are subjected to more effective means of obtaining education and retaining the information they learn. Online education has brought success to many people from all walks of life the only prerequisites is a computer, internet access, and a willingness to learn. College education is a field which includes financial aid, accelerated courses, online assignments and test, online books, daily requirements, and most of all graduation.

Financial aid

Getting money to pay for college is said to be one of the most frightening things a student experiences while contemplating college. Most students who attend college are using financial aid which is provided by the federal government yet there is a small percentage of students who pay out of pocket and an even smaller percentage students who pay for college expenses by grants and scholarships. All regionally accredited schools are approved to offer their students financial aid to pay for classes and resources like books and dorm expenses. A list of schools who accept financial aid as payment are listed on the department of education website.

Financial aid is a combination of three resources Pell Grant, Student Loans, and Scholarships. When a student fills out a financial aid packet from FAFSA website the application will be review to determine if the student is eligible for Pell Grant, Student Loans, and Scholarships; the student only needs to completely fill out and submit the form. After the student submits the online financial aid application the student will receive an email stating the student’s application status; when the student is approved the student will receive a letter of approval from the department of education.

Financial aid is not based off of credit nor is a credit report pulled when a student applies, the qualification for financial aid are based off of how old the student is, how much money the student makes per year, if the student is current on their taxes, and the students citizen status. The financial aid department of the student’s school will inform the student if the student is approved for financial aid and how much the student will be receiving. The student will be informed how much Pell grant, student loans, and scholarships the student is approved for per year; the student must reapply for financial aid each year. The student will have the option of accepting or rejecting the financial aid after the student has been approved for financial aid; for example, if the student is approved for Pell grant and student loans then the student can reject the student loans and keep the Pell grant to pay classes.

When the student has decided how much of the financial aid the student will use the financial aid department will total the cost of school per year and give the student the remainder of the financial aid; for example, if the student receives 10,000 for financial aid per year but the cost of school per year is only 4,000 the student receives the remaining 6,000 in the form of a check or a direct deposit depending on the institution. The excess money not used to pay for class can be used for living expenses or to purchase products/services which will support academics.

Assignments

Online education is convenient yet successful because online institution are required by the department of education to challenge online students as equal to traditional students who attend a classroom. Two ways the students are being challenged online is by improving their memory and interactive skills by requiring the students to write papers weekly and interact with fellow classmates. The same process happens at a traditional brick and mortar college in the sense the students are required to attend class and participate in a lecture by listening to the lesson and commenting on the lesson in the form of a dialogue.

When a student attends class online the students repeats this same process daily by logging into the virtual classroom, reading the lesson of the day, and commenting on the lesson. At the end of the week the student is normally required to submit a 750-1000 word essay which amounts to about 3-5 pages worth of writing. Depending on the online institution, students are required to write one written assignment per week and also comment on 2-5 fellow student’s comments. The greatest thing about online is the convenience, the students are able to see when and what time they submitted their assignments and what remaining assignments they have left for the week. When the students assignments are graded the grades are posted in a visible area of the virtual classroom. Before each class starts the students are normally given electronic books which can be paid for by financial aid.

Accreditation

Within the past 3-5 years we have seen an enormous amount of online schools sprout up but how can a student be for sure they are attending the right school. when reviewing schools one should determine what school they would like to attend by evaluating what they want to do; for example, student A wants to be a lawyer so he chooses Harvard but student B wants to be a grant writer so the student choose an online school which offers certifications in grant writing. Regardless of what school what should be kept in mind which colleges are accredited. Accreditation is a fancy word for review colleges and their curriculum’s, the state department has appointed the department of education to review and approved commissioning bodies to review and qualify schools; a common commissioning body is The Higher Learning Commission.

A school’s quality, is based of the schools process of teaching and the content being taught to the students. Some schools do not have or have been stripped of their accreditation and a student should be cautions of attending those schools. The reason being if a student attends a non-accredited school but does not finish their degree but would like to transfer their earned credits to an accredited school the accredited school may not accept the credits from the non-accredited school. Many students have attending a non-accredited school and near completion have tried to transfer all of their credits to an accredited school and have disappointingly found they cannot.

Students who are using federal aid should be very mindful on what colleges are accredited because colleges which are not accredited will not be able to accept federal aid. In additional to federal aid helping students with yearly living expenses students are able to write off the interest paid on students loans on the taxes at the end of the year.

Scholarship For Mothers Program – Private Foundations For Women Offer Educational Financial Aid

Having to take care of the children on her own is the biggest challenge a single mother could ever face. Raising them up would mean she has to work full time to earn money and provide at least the essential and basic needs of her children. This can be tougher, especially if they would want to go back to school to improve their careers and find a more rewarding job. All of these are for a mother’s wish to give her children a brighter future.

Aside from the Federal grants and loans given by the government to help out single mothers, there are also private groups and foundations that offer scholarship programs. Below are some of the well-established scholarship programs for moms:

Accounting Scholarships for Women in Transition

This scholarship program is offered to women who are the only source of support for their families. This scholarship offers up to $16,000 over 4 years to those who are taking up accounting degree.

American Association of University Women Career Development Grants

For those mothers who would like to advance their careers and pursue master’s degree, second bachelor’s degree or would like to undergo specialized training can apply to this scholarship program. It offers $2,000 to up to $12,000 worth of scholarship grants.

Women’s Independence Scholarship Program (WISP)

WISP offers educational aid for formerly battered women to provide them a suitable job to support themselves and their kids. To be an eligible candidate in this program, one should be enrolled in an accredited program of community schools, colleges or universities.

Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO)

This organization offers several scholarship programs for mothers. One of which is the Program for Continuing Education, who offers up to $2,000 scholarship grants. STAR Scholarship Pilot Programs, on the other hand, can give up to $2,500 for high school seniors who wanted to pursue post secondary education. Foreigner students who are pursuing graduate studies in US and Canada are also eligible for scholarship programs and can be awarded up to $10,000 through International Peach Scholarship.

These are a number of scholarships for mother program offered by other organizations. You can find more online as well as on news papers and periodicals. Though not all are lucky enough to get in a scholarship, never stop until you find one. Keeping the scholarship for single moms may be tiring but is always worth the effort.

Need Help With Financing Your College Education? Financial Aid Consultants Are Doing Just That!

Many families are finding it difficult to pay for college today. Some of the reasons are as follows: Not understanding how the college process works, limited services from high school guidance counselors and financial aid administrators at colleges and not knowing what financial resources they can qualify for. One of the most attractive options is working with a financial aid consultant. These consultants are helping families get the money they need to pay for college.

What is a financial aid consultant? These consultants work for you and charge a fee to explain how the financial aid process works and ultimately get you the money you need to pay for college. A good consultant should at least have a four year degree, have experience working as a financial aid administrator at a college, be well-verse on funding sources and have a basic understanding on tax preparation and strategies. In addition, they should be problem solvers. They are working for your interest.

You can find a consultant in just about every state in the U.S. You can find them over the internet. Most of their services(s) are done online. If you decide to use one, make sure he or she have a list of testimonials and a good track record. Make sure you do your homework when looking for a consultant. Research, research and research. Ask the right questions and get the right answers. Remember your focus is to get the most money possible to pay for an expensive college education and a good consultant will do that. Good luck.