Thinking Ahead About Financial Aid

by Tina Gonzalez, Director of Financial Aid

Greetings, Applicants!

Financial Aid season is fast approaching!  Here are a few tips and reminders to keep you organized (and sane) during the coming hectic months.  But, first, did you know that:

  • 90% of Juilliard students apply for financial aid, and almost 80% are receiving Juilliard scholarship assistance.
  • You should apply for financial aid even if you don’t think you’ll qualify. There are loan and work-study programs available to most U.S. citizens/residents regardless of income.  In addition, Juilliard scholarship eligibility does not have a strict income cutoff.
  • You must apply for financial aid to be considered for any Juilliard scholarships.  All scholarship decisions are based on a combination of both financial need and merit.
  • The deadline to apply is March 1, but the best time to start is in early February, after you have your income information for 2012.  You will still have plenty of time, and the information you submit will be more accurate.

So, if you shouldn’t start the process until February, what can you do now?

  • Maintain a spreadsheet of all of your schools, including tuition, aid procedures and deadlines (and, later, scholarship offers).  Call them if you have questions!  Track the deadlines on a calendar, including a start date well in advance of the due date.
  • Arrange to have your taxes completed as early as possible, if you are planning to file a U.S. tax return for 2012. The sooner you file your tax return, the easier it will be to complete the FAFSA.  HERE’S OUR BEST FAFSA TIP:  Filing your taxes electronically makes it easier to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) when filing your FAFSA. If you won’t have your taxes completed by the end of February, use estimates, but keep in mind that your aid eligibility may change if you underestimate your income.
  • Talk to your parents about college financing.  Get all expectations out in the open.  How much are they able to pay?  Do they expect you to borrow for your education? Are they willing to take loans on your behalf?  Will you get a work-study job on campus? And don’t forget that schools will be communicating directly with YOU (the student), so be sure to keep your parents in the loop.
  • Research federal student aid programs to better understand your award letters from the schools to which you are accepted.  Be sure to find out if your state has any scholarship programs, and keep searching for private scholarships as well.

And, as always – contact us if you have any questions, concerns, or special circumstances.  We are here to help you!