- FAFSA assistance is not only applicable to the fall and spring semesters; you can also use it for summer.
- There is an annual maximum that you can take out in federal loans, which includes the summer semester.
- If you are able, taking a part-time job or a paid internship can help offset the cost of the courses.
- Learn more about Insider’s student loan coverage here.
While some students use the summer to rest and recharge, others may want to take advantage of the season to get a head start on class. If you’re planning college classes next summer, here’s how the free Federal Student Aid app applies to the summer semester.
What is the financial benefit of taking summer courses?
One of the benefits of summer courses is that you can graduate earlier or earn multiple degrees, and some schools even offer reduced tuition fees for these courses. You will also be able to take classes at a local community college for a lower price and transfer those credits to your school.
You will be able to start earning full-time income sooner, which could help you start your repayment process if you have loans.
Which FAFSA is used for summer school?
This is a gray area when it comes to the suitability of the FAFSA for financial aid for your summer school. For example, will your help for the 2021-22 or 2022-23 school year go towards the 2022 summer courses?
Ultimately, your college will determine which FAFSA year applies to the summer semester. Contact your school’s financial aid office for their summer school policy.
You’ll also need to be at least a part-time student to be eligible for federal aid, and your college will define what that means for its students. There is a maximum amount you can withdraw per academic year which also includes the help you receive in the summer. The exact annual maximum depends on your school year and can be found here.
What Kinds of Help Can You Get from the FAFSA?
There are three types of aid you can get through the FAFSA: scholarships, work-study, and loans.
- Subsidies : These are generally offered on the basis of significant financial need or for people who are part of a designated group. Learn more about the different types of federal grants here.
- Work study: Work-study assistance is generally granted based on when you apply, your level of financial need and the amount of money your school has. Co-op is a type of financial aid that provides part-time positions for students in financial need to earn money for academic fees.
- Loans: Subsidized loans are offered on the basis of financial need, while eligibility for unsubsidized loans and Direct PLUS is not based on financial need. You should think about loans after exhausting your scholarship and work-study assistance options as you will have to repay the loans. Interest rates are set on federal loans.
The FAFSA for the 2021-22 school year is open until June 30, 2022, and assistance can be applied retroactively as long as you submit your application by the deadline. The FAFSA for the 2022-2023 school year is available from October 1, 2021 to June 30, 2023. Colleges will set their own aid deadlines, so check with your financial aid office for when to submit your documentation.
What are the other ways to offset the cost of summer courses?
Your school may offer scholarships, although these are usually designated for academic merit, athletic performance, or other separating factors. You can also apply for private scholarships, but be aware that they are generally very competitive. In some cases, your school may reduce the aid it gives you by the amount of the private grant.
You can also take a part-time job or a paid internship – provided the requirements aren’t too onerous and don’t negatively impact your studies – to help cover the cost of your summer courses.
You can also borrow from a private lender, but be careful before pursuing this option. Private loans have worse protections than federal loans and often have higher interest rates, depending on your creditworthiness.
Summer school can be a good way to advance your studies. Just be sure to plan your help throughout the year so you don’t run out of it during the summer term.