Making the decision to go to college can raise some financial questions. What if it costs more than you think you can afford? How do you know if you are eligible for financial aid? What kind of financial aid can you receive? At Center for Advanced Legal Studies, we are committed to helping each paralegal student get all the funding they are eligible to receive.
Your first step to apply for financial aid is to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The key word here is FREE. It can be intimidating at first glance, but if you go in prepared to research and spend a little time, you will realize how easy it can be. Don’t ever pay anyone to complete the FAFSA for you.
The process has gotten simpler over the past couple of years, because you can now retrieve your and your spouse’s and/or parent’s income information directly from the IRS. In other words, you don’t have to struggle anymore trying to find your adjusted gross income, taxes paid, and income earned from work, etc. Now you can retrieve all this information with just the click of a mouse. Not only does this streamline the process of the application, it also cuts down on human error.
For the FAFSA, you’ll need to determine your dependency status. Why? Because it determines whose information you must put on the FAFSA. If you are considered a dependent student, you will need your information and your parents’ or guardian’s information on the FAFSA. “Oh,” you say, “I have a job and my own apartment, and I pay my own bills.” This alone does not make you an independent student for financial aid eligibility. If you are classified as a dependent student, you must report both your and your parents’ or guardian’s information.
If you are classified as an independent student, you will only report your information (and your spouse’s information if you are married).
When to Apply?
You can complete the FAFSA as early as October 1st for the upcoming award year. For example, if you are planning to attend college in 2020, you can complete the 2020/2021 FAFSA as early as October 1, 2019. You will be required to use your 2017 income tax information for the 2019/2020 and 2018 income tax information for 2020/2021 FAFSAs. It can get a little confusing because most colleges and universities have their own deadline for awarding certain funding, so check with your school. Because we are a continuously enrolling college, Center for Advanced Legal Studies does not have a deadline. You just complete the appropriate FAFSA prior to enrolling.
Where to Apply?
You can complete your FAFSA at https://studentaid.gov/
Haven’t decided where to go to school yet? No problem, you can list several options you are considering, and each school will receive a copy of your FAFSA. You can always add another institution if needed. (If you wish to add Center for Advanced Legal Studies to you list of college options, our school code is 026047.)
Finally, once you complete entrance counseling, stay signed in and complete the Loan Agreement for Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan (MPN).
Bottom line, do your research and apply as early as you can. The 2019/2020 FAFSA and the 2020/2021 FAFSA are available now.
Financial Aid Quick Links
Lori Baggett has been the Financial Aid Director at Center for Advanced Legal Studies for 26 years and has helped thousands of students receive funding and finance their paralegal education. She is an expert on Financial Aid and committed to assisting our students.
If you are interested in a paralegal education and the personalized financing options available to you, contact us at 1.800.446.6931 or firstname.lastname@example.org.