Applying Early for an FSEOG

Applying Early for an FSEOG

Most people seem to always have a deadline or two they need to worry about. We all pay bills, file taxes, work our jobs, and each of these events requires deadlines.

This also applies to applying for college admissions and financial aid. There are many forms required for a college student, and their parents, to fill out. One of the most important is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the FAFSA. This annual document determines the amount of financial aid a student can receive towards their college education.  Missing out on this deadline often means missing out on free money for college.

Within the FAFSA is all of the key data related to the Expected Family Contribution, the EFC, as well as any special considerations or circumstances that a family might face financially. This could include physical disabilities or illness upon a member of the household, it can include other students enrolled in a full time college pursuit, and it can include any financial hardship issues, which might impact a family’s ability to contribute to educational expenses.

Once a student, and their parents, have filed the FAFSA they will receive a Student Aid Report, a SAR, that indicates the amount their family, or household, can realistically contribute. The SAR may also indicate exactly what the cost of attendance will be at the schools a student has indicated interest in attending.

With all of this information a student can then pursue their financial aid goals. This can be scholarships, loans and grants. Most students who face financial difficulty look for a Federal Pell Grant. Usually called “the foundation of federal student financial aid”, the Pell Grant is the first step to obtaining additional funding.

After a Pell Grant has been determined a student and their financial aid officer can discuss a Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, an FSEOG. These are grants made to students with exceptional financial difficulty. While a Pell Grant is handled by the school, the funds are guaranteed, for the FSEOG however the funding is not such a “sure thing”.

This is because the funds are given to a school which administrates the amounts distributed to each student. The financial aid office itself makes the final determination of how much each student receives. If a student waits too long to apply a school may have used up all of the funding for that year.

This scenario cannot happen with a Pell Grant, because the funds are delivered as needed to a school’s financial office, whereas the FSEOG funds do not have any opportunity to be replenished throughout the remainder of the academic year.