How to Apply for Financial Aid (2024)

To apply for Financial Aid for your courses at Bristol, just follow the steps below.

Please Note: Taxreturn information is needed to complete the FAFSA and the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) is the preferred method for providing that information.

  1. CompletetheFree Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
    The federal government is strongly encouraging applicants to file the FAFSA on the Web. Electronic filing is faster, more economical, and reduces paper waste.
  2. Create your FSA ID.
    The FSA ID is your username and password that gives you access to all things related to Federal Student Aid. You will use it to sign your FAFSA, access the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), and complete the Entrance/Exit Counseling and Master Promissory Note for your student loan. Go to and click "Create an FSA ID."

    If you are considered a dependent student, a parent will also be required to set up an FSA ID.

    If filing online is not an option for you, you can download apaper FAFSAfrom our Formspage. The Department of Education is no longer providing schools with paper forms. Follow the directions indicated, complete the form,and mailto the address listed.

    The BristolFinancial Aid Office staff can help you complete the financial aid applications. Workshops and walk-in assistance are available at all our locations. See the Financial Aid Workshopspage for more information.

  3. Verify the data on your Student Aid Report (SAR).
    About one to six weeks after submitting your FAFSA, you will receive a SAR from the U. S. Department of Education. You will receive the SAR via the email address used for your FSA ID.
    • Read the SAR carefully to check for accuracy.
    • Make sure BristolSchool Code 002176 is listed so we will receive your data.
    • If 002176 is not listed, use your FSA ID to log back into your completed FAFSA. Select the "School Selection" tab and add Bristol's code. Sign and submit the FAFSA with your FSA ID.
    • If you have your DRN (you can find it on the confirmation page you received upon completing the FAFSA), the Financial Aid Office can add Bristol's code for you. Provide the Office with your DRN, Social Security Number, full name, and date of birth.
  4. Respond to requests for information promptly.
    • You will be contacted by email by the BristolFinancial Aid Office if additional information is needed to complete your file.
    • Massachusetts residents may also be contacted by the Massachusetts Office of Student Assistance for additional information.
    • Rhode Island residents may also be contacted by the Rhode Island Higher Education Assistance Authority for additional information.
    • View required forms on your MyBristol account under Finances & Aid > Select Number 2 > Student Services & Financial Aid tab > Financial Aid > My Eligibility > Student Requirements.

I completed my file. What's next?

Once all requested documents have been received, the Financial Aid Office will review your file and you will be notified that either additional documentation is needed or that an award decision has been made.

Your bill will show a pending payment and you will receive consideration for a book advance once ALL of the following conditions are met:

  • An award decision has been made by the BristolFinancial Aid Office.
  • No additional documents are needed.
  • Revised FAFSA results have been received by the Financial Aid Office (if corrections were needed).
  • You are admitted and registered in an eligible program.
  • You are enrolled at the level indicated on your award letter.
  • You are making satisfactory academic progress.
  • If a loan was offered, you have accepted the loan and then followed up with the entrance counseling and promissory note requirements.

Check your Financial Aid Status

You can check your application and award status through youraccount. To check your financial aid applicationfor missing documents,log into yourMyBristol and go to Finances & Aid > Select Number 2 > Student Services & Financial Aid tab > Financial Aid > My Eligibility > Student Requirements.

To check your award status, log in to yourmyBristoland then go to:My Quick Links > Financial Aid > Number 2.

Documentation sent to the Financial Aid Office isscanned and indexed through a document imaging system. During peak periods, it can take up to a week for information to appear as received. Please allow mailing and scanning time when checkingyour application status. The informationyou view through myBristol is the same information viewableto the Enrollment Services staff.

Be sure to check out the Need to Know Info page for information regarding deadlines, reapplying, special circ*mstances, and tax return information.

How to Apply for Financial Aid (2024)


How to answer why you need financial aid? ›

Explain the difficulties you are having meeting your needs. Describe changes in your life that have affected your ability to pay for college. For example, changes in your family's income or unexpected expenses may have caused a financial deficit. Provide evidence that you can handle your finances responsibly.

How can you increase your chances of getting financial aid? ›

How to Get the Most Financial Aid? 7 Tips to Maximize College Funding
  1. File forms as early as possible. ...
  2. Minimize student assets. ...
  3. Understand and utilize FAFSA strategies. ...
  4. Fill out FAFSA regardless of income. ...
  5. Prepare for merit-based aid possibilities. ...
  6. Consider even top-rated schools as options.
Jan 4, 2024

What do you say when asking for financial aid? ›

Your letter should clearly state the facts of your family's financial situation and your financial need. It should explain why you need additional aid, even if the reason is something you find difficult or even embarrassing to talk about. Be candid and honest about your family finances.

How to answer financial aid questions on common app? ›

What if you are unsure if you are eligible for financial aid? Every college should have its own Net Price Calculator, found on its website (federal policy ensures they have one). Try inputting your family's financial numbers to see if you qualify for aid. If you do, confidently mark "Yes" on the Common App question.

How do you explain why you need financial assistance? ›

Body: Your financial situation and hardships

Make sure you describe your parents' occupation, any savings (like a 529 College Savings Account), and any student jobs. You might also discuss any sudden changes in fortune (e.g. parent fell ill or lost their job) that have ruined your original financial plans.

Should I say I am applying for need-based financial aid? ›

If you intend to file the FAFSA when submitting your college applications, check the box. Not checking the box, but then filing for aid, will only create confusion for the admissions office. They may reach out to you to clarify your intent, or they may simply consider you a full-pay family and not award aid.

How do I convince my FAFSA to give me more money? ›

Request a Reevaluation of Your Circ*mstances

Through this process, you can petition for a reevaluation of the information on your FAFSA® form. This process will likely require you to submit additional documentation to your school's financial aid office.

How do I maximize my FAFSA? ›

Basic Principles
  1. Reducing income during the base years.
  2. Reducing “included” assets. ...
  3. Increasing the number of family members enrolled in college and pursuing a degree or certificate at the same time.

What determines how much financial aid you will get? ›

The financial aid staff starts by determining your cost of attendance (COA) at that school. They then consider your Student Aid Index (SAI) (2024-25 FAFSA form) or Expected Family Contribution (EFC) (2023–24 FAFSA form).

What are three helpful hints for applying for FAFSA? ›

7 Tips for Filling Out the FAFSA
  • Ensure that your school and program are FAFSA-eligible. ...
  • Determine your dependency status. ...
  • Collect all required information and documents. ...
  • Start your FAFSA application early. ...
  • Review all information before submitting. ...
  • Ask for help if needed.
Feb 6, 2024

Does FAFSA ask how much money you have? ›

The FAFSA will specifically ask “As of today what is the cash balance of checking, savings…” accounts for the student. Because the question is phrased “As of today” it leaves room for interpretation. If all money was pulled from checking and savings the day before the FAFSA was filed, the answer is zero.

How do I ask a college for more money? ›

Contact the financial aid office for more aid if it's a needs-based appeal. If it's a merit-based appeal, contact the enrollment or admissions office. Explain that you want to initiate a professional judgment review (or “special circ*mstances review,” as some schools call it).

What are FAFSA income limits? ›

There is no maximum income you can have for the FAFSA. Whether you're the richest person in the country or have an annual income of $0, you can submit the FAFSA.

Is it worth applying for financial aid? ›

While the cost of tuition can be overwhelming, financial aid can make higher education more affordable. In fact, income and savings represent only a few of the resources families use to pay students' college expenses, according to the annual Sallie Mae/Ipsos survey How America Pays for College.

What is the question 20 on the FAFSA? ›

This is question 20 on the FAFSA. The response indicates the date the student became a legal resident of the state in which he/she currently resides. The student's state will use this information to determine if the student meets its criteria for state financial aid.

Why do I deserve financial aid? ›

Why you are deserving doesn't just have to do with your past achievements; it also has to do with your future plans and goals. Scholarship providers want to fund students who will go on to achieve great things or who wish to give back to their communities.

Why would you apply for financial aid? ›

Filing for financial aid shows colleges that you are concerned about the cost of an education and that you're looking to save money. If the financial aid offered to your student doesn't meet your expectations, they can write an appeal letter.

Why do I need a financial aid essay sample? ›

My family has made many sacrifices to allow me to focus on education throughout primary and secondary school. I now have an opportunity to become the first person in my family to attend college, though I'm in need of financial assistance to realize what has been a long-term goal for me and a dream for my parents.

How to answer why should we give you this scholarship? ›

Talk about your Passion and Persistence. Letting your passion show through in your answer allows the committee to see your dedication. You deserve this scholarship based on your love of learning, your enjoyment of your field, or your passion for growth.


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