First Generation Students FAQs

After Being Admitted

Financial Aid

  • The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is the application to receive financial aid from the federal government. Federal aid programs include Pell Grant, which is free money that does not have to be repaid; and federal student loans are monies that must be repaid after the student either graduates or drops below half-time attendance in school.

    Not every student is eligible for Pell Grant, but all students who are eligible to file the FAFSA are eligible for at least $5,500 in student loans per year. The FAFSA is reviewing income and asset information for the student, and in most cases the parents of the student, to determine the student’s eligibility for financial aid

    The results of the FAFSA are sent to all of the schools that the student lists on the FAFSA (you may list up to ten schools). You must also apply for admission and be admitted to each school that you list, in order for those schools to let you know what kind of financial aid that they will be able to offer you.

  • Before you file the FAFSA, you and one of your custodial parents should each create a FSA ID. A FSA ID is a user name and a password that allows you to access federal student aid websites and also acts as your electronic signature. It is important that you and your parent each use a different email address to create your FSA ID’s. It is also important to write down or save electronically your and your parent’s FSA IDs and keep that information in a safe place. You will not use it often, but you will need it each year that you apply for financial aid.

    To create a FSA ID, start at the FAFSA website – www.fafsa.ed.gov. Select the FSA ID icon at the top of the page. Then select the “Create a FSA ID Now” option.

    Once you and your parent have FSA IDs, go back to the www.fafsa.ed.gov website and complete a FAFSA for the appropriate academic year. An academic year is a school year – for example, if you will begin taking classes in the fall of 2018, you would complete a FAFSA for the 2018-2019 academic year, which is good from Fall 2018 through the summer semester of 2019.

  • The earliest date you may file a FAFSA is on October 1 of the year before you will begin classes. Typically, this would be October of your senior year.

    There are some limited forms of financial aid that are offered on a first come, first serve basis. These limited types of aid usually include institutional grants and work study funding. Filing the FAFSA early ensures that you will be awarded the best possible financial aid package you are eligible for.

  • Financial Aid offices typically begin corresponding with students soon after they become admitted and receive the FAFSA. In some cases, we are required by the Department of Education to collect additional documentation from students and their parents before we can offer them aid. We notify those students via US mail and email that they have missing requirements for financial aid.

  • Each college determines the timeframe when they begin offering financial aid to students. At Ferris State University, we begin mailing out award notices to admitted new students that completed the FAFSA process beginning in mid-December.

  • Before contacting Financial Aid, feel free to check out the other Financial Aid FAQs.