Applying for aid is just the first step in a process. One in three applicants will be selected for a process called verification. If your application is selected, you will need to provide the financial aid office with tax forms and other documents. Provide the verification documents as soon as possible. Most financial aid offices have double digit increases in applications to process. Most offices process in date order, depending on when you return any documents requested. Don’t end up with a late disbursement because you procrastinated with responses. If your college also provides institutional aid from their college foundation, you may have other steps to take to complete the file. Be informed. Ask questions.
PLEASE NOTE: When you ask if you are finished with the process, there is a big difference between the responses, “We have everything we need to review your file,” and “Your file is complete and you have been awarded.” If you have completed the process, you should either have an award or have been notified that you are not eligible for financial aid.
If you haven’t started the process yet, you are very, very late. Do it TODAY. The later you wait, the later you will be paid. In many cases, the later you wait, the less you will receive. You are always entitled to your Pell grant award, but institutional scholarships, supplemental grants and work study are awarded from a limited pool of money. People who apply early get these awards or get larger amounts. The application process for fall semester starts in January. Get going! If you are attended classes in the summer, be sure to check with your school and find out what the process is. It varies from one college to another.