Five things to know about financial aid

Director of financial aid Wanda Spradley assists a local family complete the FAFSA form online during one of College's annual Financial Aid Super Saturday sessions.
Director of financial aid Wanda Spradley helps a local family complete the FAFSA form online during one of the College’s annual Financial Aid Super Saturday sessions.

OK, so you’re about to graduate from high school and you think you know where you want to attend college. There’s just that little problem of how to pay for it. Sweet Briar’s chief enrollment officer Steven Nape has five tips for navigating the financial aid waters — and for affording the college of your dreams.

  1. File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA. This is the first step to determining your eligibility for aid and estimating what your family’s contribution will be. All schools publish priority deadlines for filing the FAFSA, Nape says, but don’t let that deter you. “It’s not too late for need-based financial aid,” he says.
  2. If you live in-state, don’t forget to apply for the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant. All Virginia residents qualify for the VTAG, which is estimated to be $3,100 per student for the coming year.
  3. Schedule a one-on-one meeting with one of our financial aid representatives. We understand that every family’s financial situation is different. We’ll personally walk you through your options and make sure you know exactly what financial aid you may be eligible for.
  4. We all dread doing taxes, but don’t wait to file your FAFSA if you haven’t done them yet. It is better to estimate your tax liability and revise it later than to delay filling out your FAFSA, Nape advises. Since everything follows from this federal form, the sooner you do it, the better off you will be.
  5. If you still have questions or need help, visit our website or call (800) 381-6142 or (800) 381-6156. Education is the most important investment you’ll ever make, because you’re investing in your future. We want to make that investment with you. That’s why we’ll assist you every step of the way, with an individualized program to ensure you never feel lost, and to help you make the most of the aid that’s available to you.