The Ultimate Financial Aid Application Checklist

Arkansas Baptist College wants to make it as simple as possible for students to improve their lives through a quality education. For example, the university employees in our Office of Student Financial Aid & Scholarships are dedicated to offering guidance and financial aid tips for college students who need help paying for classes. If you are not sure how to apply for financial aid, our knowledgeable staff can help you review the following checklist and answer any questions you may have. Whether you are a first-time degree seeker or a working parent who is returning to school, you can discover options that will allow you to pursue a promising degree at Arkansas Baptist College.

FAFSA Checklist

The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the gateway to the getting financial assistance for college students. Filling out this form starts you on the path towards a variety of federally backed grants, loans, and work-study programs. Additionally, if you complete the form, you will be automatically become eligible for low-interest student loans of at least $5,500 per year. The FAFSA collects information on your finances—or your parents’ finances if you are a dependent—and helps the government determine the level of aid for which you are qualified. Most colleges, including Arkansas Baptist College, also use this form to decide how scholarships are distributed. To complete the FAFSA, you should:

  1. Get a Federal Student Aid IDnumber (FSA ID). If you are providing information on your parents’ finances, they will also need a FSA ID. These numbers allow you to keep track of the application process online and provide your digital signatures on documents.
  2. Visit the official FAFSA website.
  3. Complete the application. Make sure your form corresponds to the academic year when you are planning to attend classes at Arkansas Baptist College. You should also pay close attention to the deadlines for application, which change based on the state and school year.
  4. If applicable, link a parent’s or spouse’s tax information using IRS retrieval tool. The tool allows applicants to use each other’s tax information quickly and accurately when filling out forms.
  5. Print a confirmation page when the FAFSA application is complete.

Direct Student Loan Checklist

Direct student loans are low-interest loans provided by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), as opposed to a bank or other financial institution. There are two types of direct loans:

  • Subsidized loans are for undergraduate students with financial need. The DOE pays the interest on the loans. However, the government will only pay the interest while you are in school at least part-time, for the first six months after graduation, or while you are in a deferment period, which postpones payments while you provide evidence that you cannot afford the payments.
  • Unsubsidized direct loans are not needs based. The government looks at the potential cost of your education to determine how much you will receive, and students are generally responsible for interest payments.

 

For direct student loans, you will need your FSA ID to begin the application process and enroll in loan counseling courses. To complete the direct student loan application, you should:

  1. Visit the official student loans website.
  2. Enter your personal information and FSA ID.
  3. Complete the Direct Loan Entrance Counseling.
  4. Complete the subsidized/unsubsidized master promissory note (MPN).
  5. Check back with the site after one or two days. You should be able to review information on the status of your application. You should see tabs for “view previously completed counseling” and “completed MPNs.”

Parent PLUS Loan Checklist

The Parent PLUS loan program is a direct loan for parents. Parents of Arkansas Baptist College students can borrow directly from the DOE. The money will match the cost of attending college minus any other aid, such as direct loans or scholarships. The interest rate for these loans is market-based, so it will likely rise and fall during the life of the loan. However, there is a 10.5% rate cap, and some borrowers may deduct the interest paid on their tax return. To complete the Parent PLUS application, parents should:

  1. Make sure the student has completed the FAFSA and that both parents and students have received FSA IDs.
  2. Visit the official student loans website.
  3. Visit the “Apply for a PLUS Loan” application and follow the instructions.
  4. If approved, the parent will need to complete an MPN. (If denied, the student will be eligible for up to $4,000 in unsubsidized loans.)
  5. Whatever the outcome of the PLUS loan application, please notify the Office of Student Financial Aid & Scholarships so that we can offer further financial aid tips.

If you want to learn how to apply for financial aid at Arkansas Baptist College, contact a member of our staff today at (877)-643-5390 for tips and guidance.

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