How to Apply for Financial Aid
The application process for financial aid is not as difficult as most people think. In fact, the simple on-line process automatically checks for mistakes and helps you avoid them. If you have never applied for financial aid in the past, the first thing to do is to get a FSA ID. Both the student (aid applicant) and one parent (if the student is a dependent) should get a FSA ID and keep it in a safe place. This ID will be used for several financial aid processes, including your renewal application next year. The ID can be set up in a few minutes at studentaid.gov.
The Online Application
After obtaining your FSA ID(s), the next step in the financial aid application process is the submission of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (also known as the FAFSA). This process can be completed quickly and easily on the United States Department of Education’s website at: studentaid.gov.
The information that you provide on this application will allow the Financial Aid Office to determine your eligibility for various grants, programs, scholarships and loans. Be sure to list Pierpont’s code (040385) as your school choice when completing the form, as this will send your eligibility results directly to our Financial Aid Office.
Once you have completed the on-line application, keep copies of income documentation (both taxable and non-taxable), application printouts, confirmation pages and any other information used in completing financial aid forms.
Need help with your FAFSA? Call our office 304-367-4907 to schedule a day and time for assistance with completion.
Application Deadline: You should complete your FAFSA at least ninety days before you begin classes. However, to maximize your eligibility it is recommended that you complete the FAFSA by March 1st of each year. We cannot process any federal financial aid for you until we have received your data from the FAFSA processor.
If you have not applied before your classes begin, please come and talk to us in the financial aid office as soon as possible. The absolute deadline to file the FAFSA is a few weeks before you finish classes for the financial aid year (or otherwise leave school for any reason), because we must receive your approved FAFSA data while you are attending during the school year in order to process your financial aid.
The “Verification” Process
About one-third of all FAFSA applications are selected for a review process called “verification”. If your application is selected, you will be asked to provide to the Financial Aid Office copies of your income tax returns and other income and asset information, and similar information from your parent(s) if you are a dependent student. The federal FAFSA processor will let you know if you are selected for verification. We will also send you a letter if your application is selected, giving you instructions and a list of the necessary items. You can also download the federal verification worksheets (and numerous other forms) from our forms page.
Deadlines: We cannot process any federal financial aid for you until all necessary documents are submitted and reviewed. Sometimes this process results in the need for the Financial Aid Office to send electronic corrections to your FAFSA data, and this can add a few more days to the processing time. Therefore, it is important to submit any requested documents as soon as possible. There are also federal verification deadlines that give us only a short time after you complete your program or otherwise cease attending to complete the process.
Applying for Other Sources of Aid
There are many other sources of aid outside of the traditional financial aid programs, each with their own rules and application processes. Students should track down other sources of aid, and scholarships. Many community clubs, organizations, businesses, and churches offer educational scholarships, and some industries offer paid education as an employee benefit.
Applying for a Student Loan or Parent Loan
Federal Parent Loans for Undergraduate Study (PLUS Loans) has its own additional application processes (after completing the FAFSA)