Month-by-Month Planning Guide

January-February

Get Acquainted With the FAFSA

After January 1, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) should be completed. This “need analysis” document provides us with information about you and your parents’ income and assets. The Financial Assistance Office will then determine how much need-based financial aid you are eligible to receive. The FAFSA is also required for any student who wishes to borrow through the federal student loan programs, regardless of financial need, as well as state and institutional need-based financial aid programs.

The FAFSA should be completed on-line. Click on the FAFSA to go to the offical site. The results of the FAFSA will be sent to all the schools you list on the FAFSA. EMU’s school code is 003708.

Helpful Hint – The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) cannot be completed until January 1. Furthermore, it should be completed at the same time or after you complete your federal tax returns. Although you may complete this form anytime after January 1 and prior to the end of the academic year, many schools have very early institutional deadlines for the completion of the FAFSA. EMU’s recommended filing deadline is April 15th.

Complete Your Federal Income Tax Returns

The information you provide on the FAFSA must match information you report to the Internal Revenue Service. If you are unable to complete your tax returns in a timely manner, you may use estimated information on the FAFSA. However, you will need to send in corrected information at a later date. This may delay the process.

Virginia Residents

Complete and mail the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant (VTAG) application before July 31. This grant is available to students who have been residents of Virginia for at least one year prior to enrollment and who attend private colleges or universities.

Pennsylvania Residents

Your application for state funds is the FAFSA. This information is automatically sent by the U.S. Department of Education to the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Authority (PHEAA). The FAFSA filing deadline is May 1.

Residents of Other States

Check with your high school guidance office to determine if your state provides assistance for students attending out-of-state institutions.

Contact Your Church

EMU attempts to send each church a “church grant commitment form.” Make sure your church receives one and that it is completed and returned to EMU prior to March 1 or as soon as possible after March 1

March – June

Review Your Award Letter

Each school you listed on the FAFSA will receive a similar electronic report known as an Institutional Student Information Report (ISIR). Shortly after receiving an ISIR, EMU will send you a Financial Assistance Award Letter. The Award Letter will provide you with an estimate, based on current available information, of the financial aid you are eligible to receive for the upcoming term at EMU.

Helpful Hint – You will likely receive award letters from each school you are interested in attending. Keep in mind that costs may vary greatly from school to school as will the amount of aid you may receive. Financial aid is only one factor in determining which will be your best choice for college. Use care when comparing the “net cost” to you.

Complete a Monthly Payment Plan Contract

Please complete a TMS contract if you decide this option is useful for you.

Complete Loan Applications

Along with your Award Letter you will receive appropriate student and/or parent loan forms.

Complete a Student Employment Application

Many students are eligible for employment through the Federal Work-Study Program. If you are eligible for this program, a Student Employment Application will be included with your Award Letter.