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spacerThe FAFSA Process

Many families are under the impression that they shouldn’t bother filing the FAFSA form because their income is too high and they won’t receive any financial aid.  This is a common misconception for two reasons:

  1. When the federal government calculates your ability to pay (EFC), it considers factors other than just your income.  For example, considerations include how many children are in your family, how many people in your household are in college and how close your parents are to retirement.
  2. All students can be eligible for financial aid, but some forms, like loans, are paid back. Low interest student loans, work study jobs, and college awards are all keyed to the completion of the FAFSA. It is extremely important to file the FAFSA form as early as possible.

Next Steps
File the FAFSA form online at You and one parent should first apply for an electronic PIN at If you need assistance completing the form, you may also visit . Submit this form as soon as possible after January 1.  St. Thomas recommends that you complete the FAFSA by February 15 to receive maximum consideration for aid.  Please keep in mind that in order to file your FAFSA form early, you must first complete your tax returns.

2-3 weeks after you file the FAFSA form electronically The federal government will send you a form called the Student Aid Report (SAR). It will also be sent electronically to St. Thomas Aquinas College. The SAR will indicate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) -- that is how much money they feel your family can contribute to the total cost of your education.

Review Your Student Aid Report
It is important that you review your SAR very carefully; often the federal government will notify you of missing or inaccurate information that is needed to fully process your FAFSA.  Please read through the SAR completely to ensure that no additional information is being requested.

Your Financial Aid Package
St. Thomas Aquinas will take the results of your processed FAFSA and put together a financial aid package for you.  Financial aid packages are sent to students starting in March.  Please note that notification of many merit-based scholarships may occur prior to this time; usually these notifications are sent out a few days after notification of admission.
We have found that students who file the FAFSA form are more likely to complete their education and graduate than students who do not file since there is a financial safety net available.

Financial aid exists to fill the gap between what the federal government has determined your family can pay (EFC) and what it costs to attend a College. We look at your total costs and subtract your merit aid, federal aid, state aid, and any other aid you will receive and work with you to close the gap -- after all resources are looked at we look at the lowest loan opportunities for you and your family.




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