FAFSA and Loans (Part 3)

Link to part 1 and part 2.

FAFSA

If you have lots of savings and can pay for your child’s education in full, out of pocket, then you are golden and you can skip the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and funding details below. If like most of us you or your child needs a loan then you are going to need to fill out the FAFSA application, even for college in the US. If you are thinking about getting a private loan instead then that will prove difficult as a completed FAFSA application and an approved international school are generally needed.

The government is not in the habit of just giving money to any college, so there is a list of approved international schools which is updated yearly. The document can be found here. This spreadsheet can be filter by country. Remember that the UK is made up of 4 countries, England, N Ireland, Scotland and Wales, so remember to check all them. Print it out and keep it handy to start researching colleges.

Filling out the FAFSA is not as complex as it used to be now that it can link to the IRS and pull down your income directly.

Later when you look at a UK college you will have to become familiar with how they accept FAFSA applications as they are not electronically linked to the US loans system like colleges in the US. This generally means you will need to email documents back and forth. A web page on the college site will give you the information.

Loans

If you need to take out a loan you have a number options:

  1. Stafford loan – Federal loan for the student starting at $5,500 for first year and increasing by $1,000 for each following year.
  2. Parent Plus loan – Federal student loan available to the parents of dependent undergraduate students.
  3. Private Loan – such as Sallie Mae and others.

My daughter obtained a $5,500 Stafford Loan for her first year. Our plan is to use this to cover some, if not all her accommodation.

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