Frequently Asked Financial Aid Questions

At Sanford-Brown, we strive to take as much stress out of the financial aid process as possible for our prospective students.

As you move through the financial aid process, you may have questions about your options. A few of the most common questions students have about financial aid are answered below. If the question you have is not answered here, a financial aid representative will be happy to provide the information you need.

Q. What is financial aid?

A. Financial aid is the name used for federal, state and private resources that may help pay for college costs. Typically financial aid consists of grants, scholarships, loans and student employment. Grants and scholarships generally do not have to be repaid. Loans must be repaid with payments usually beginning after the student is no longer enrolled at least half time. Student employment consists of opportunities for students to earn money to pay for educational expenses. Financial Aid is available for those who qualify.

Q. How do I apply for financial aid and what do I need?

A. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, more commonly known as the FAFSA, is the single application needed to apply for all sources of federal student aid. The FAFSA can be completed online at

While completing the FAFSA, there are a few things that students need to have on hand before they start. In order to confirm their identity, U.S. citizens will be required to have their Social Security number while eligible non-citizens need to have their alien registration number. Driver’s licenses are also helpful, but not required. Additionally, any federal tax returns (student and/or parent, if a dependent student) and asset information for the past two years will be needed.

Q. Why do I have to provide parent information on my FAFSA?

A. Students are considered dependent or independent for federal financial aid purposes based on criteria established by Congress. For example, students who are under the age of 24, single, have no dependents and are not veterans are typically considered dependent for financial aid purposes. Dependent students are required to have parents provide financial information on the FAFSA in order to determine eligibility for the various federal aid programs. Check with the financial aid office to determine your dependency status if you are unsure.

Q. How often do I have to reapply for aid?

A. Students must reapply for federal and state aid each year. Typically, students should reapply for aid as soon as possible after January 1st; however, check with your financial aid office to determine when you should reapply.

Q. What's the difference between a grant and a loan?

A. A grant is free money which usually does not have to be repaid. Loans are borrowed money and must always be repaid regardless of whether you complete the program or are unsatisfied with your educational experience. Failure to repay your loans can result in serious consequences and negatively impact your ability to obtain credit in the future.

Q. When do I have to repay my loans?

A. Repayment on most loans will begin after the student is no longer enrolled at least half time. Some loans are interest free while the student is enrolled. Interest may accrue on other loans even while the student is enrolled. Check with the financial aid office, they can help explain the differences in the types of loans you have. In all cases, loans must be repaid regardless of whether you complete the program or are satisfied with your educational experience. Failure to repay your loans can result in serious consequences and negatively impact your ability to obtain credit in the future.

Q. What is a FSA ID?

A. A Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID is a user-selected username and password that will authenticate your identity to access your federal student aid information. This new login process will be used to access student and borrower-based websites, including FAFSA , NSLDS® Student Access, and The FSA ID is a single sign-on process that makes applying for aid quick and easy. Remember, your FSA ID is private and should never be shared with anyone."

Q. My parents make too much money for me to receive financial aid. What options are available to me?

A. Regardless of how much money you or your parents make, you should still complete the FAFSA. Some sources of aid are not need-based, and are available to those who qualify.

Q. What does dependent vs. independent mean?

A. Determining your dependency status is an important step in the financial aid application process. The definition for dependent or independent student for the purposes of federal student aid may be very different from what you might consider for yourself. It also is different from the IRS definition of dependency. This is not a status that Sanford-Brown assigns to you but rather a determination made from your answers to several questions on the FAFSA form.

Q. What is a Private Loan?

A. A private loan is an unsecured loan made by a lender which may have higher interest rates and often requires a credit check.

Q. How can I apply for scholarships?

A. You can research options using a variety of free scholarship search websites. Researching and applying can be time consuming, but your effort may be worth your time if you find extra funding. A word of caution: do not use agencies that charge fees to find scholarships. You can do this search on your own and free of charge. We have included information on our websites for various institutional grants and scholarships. Availability of scholarships differs by location.

To learn more about Sanford-Brown, our career-focused programs or how to apply for admission, please contact us for more information.

Financial Aid is available for those who qualify.

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