Here we are already halfway through the first quarter of 2012. Time sure flies by quickly, especially if you’re preparing your high school senior for college! So much to do and seemingly so little time…unless you’re properly prepared.
Hopefully by now you’ve filed your FAFSA. If you haven’t, time is of the essence; so gather your financial data and do it now! If you have filed it and are in the waiting mode, I’ve included an article for you this month that outlines what you can expect to happen next.
Considering University of California schools? To help you through the process, I’ve written an article describing the different financial options that are available to students. As you search for scholarships, be sure to do it early and do it often. An article outlining why this is such an important part of the process is included in this issue as well.
Be sure to keep track of your college applications and verify that all schools have received your materials. And – as always – be sure that your student is keeping up with his/her grades; this is no time to slack off! If you have any questions or concerns, I am always here to help make the financial aid process easier for you.
I’ve Filed My FAFSA: What Happens Now?
So, you’ve completed your FAFSA and are left wondering what the next steps are. Below is a quick summary of what you have to look forward to now that your FAFSA has been signed and filed.
1. Your FAFSA will be processed and your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will be determined based on the ED’s Federal Need Analysis Methodology and information you provide on your application.
2. You will be notified of completion of this process via email.
3. Within 7-10 days, you and the financial aid offices of up to ten schools listed on your FAFSA will receive a copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR) that specifies your ERC. The SAR is your record that your FAFSA was processed.
4. School financial aid administrators use information, including your SAR, to prepare a financial aid award package for you based on the types and amount of financial aid for which you may be eligible. Your financial aid package may include a mixture of grants, scholarships, work-study programs, college-sponsored aid, and/or loans, and will be communicated to you in the form of a Financial Aid Award Notice.
5. You will typically receive a Financial Aid Award Notice only from those colleges to which you have been offered admission. The notice will include specific information on how to accept and/or apply for any financial aid offered, along with next steps in the process.
6. Some colleges may require additional forms and/or applications for financial aid; it will be your responsibility to complete and submit these documents.
Because you must file a new FAFSA each year to be considered for most types of financial aid (including non-need-based federal aid) you will be notified in the fall when it is time to renew your application for the coming academic year.
University of California Financial Aid: What’s Available?
Grants, scholarships, loans and work-study are all forms of financial assistance — and extremely popular ones at that. In fact, nearly two-thirds of UC undergraduates receive some financial aid with an average award of around $14,000. For California residents, that covers nearly half the cost of attending UC for a full year.
Grants are like cash gifts. They don't have to be repaid. There are a number of grants available to students who qualify, from federal Pell Grants and state Cal Grants, to UC grants. Grants are one of the smartest ways to cover costs because they don't have to be repaid like a loan. They're simply cash awards you receive to pay for college — as long as you meet eligibility requirements. A large number of UC students are awarded grants through a variety of programs.
Both the UC system and individual UC campuses offer scholarships based on merit and financial need. Some of these include: Regents Scholarships (UC’s most prestigious scholarship award), Alumni Scholarships and restricted scholarships (available only to students with specific backgrounds, academic interests, career objectives and other criteria.)
Many students and parents take out loans to finance their student's education. Loans are available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents at all income levels. All federal loans and most private ones don't require repayment to begin until after graduation.
. Funded by the federal government, this program provides financial assistance through student employment via the Federal Work-Study Program or part-time employment, on or off campus.
. We expect most students seeking financial aid to work part time during the school year and full time in the summers, unless they go to summer school. Most part-time jobs, on or near campus, pay roughly the same amount as a work-study award.
Searching for College Scholarships: Do It Early and Do It Often!
For high school seniors planning to enter college within the next year, this should be your scholarship mantra: “Apply early and apply often!”
With the cost of college rising every year, students need to pay more attention to getting their college scholarship applications filled out. In today’s economy, very few students can get through college without some type of student loan or financial support. Without the help of a scholarship, the cost of college can be a huge burden to parents or to students if they have to resort to student loans that will need to be repaid.
According to various studies, the cost of average tuition and associated fees increased approximately 6% over the past year. Currently, that means that the average annual cost (that means every year) is almost $13,000 for students who are enrolled at four-year public colleges, and over $22,000 for the equivalent four-year private colleges.
By comparison, the cost of attending a college like Stanford or Harvard is almost $50,000 per year.
The number and variety of scholarships available today is almost staggering. There are several options for those in financial need (which include the federal Pell Grants), but many universities, corporations and various organizations also offer merit- or academic-based scholarships.
Some students think that they should only apply for the big-ticket scholarships, but that is simply untrue. Any student can apply for - and be awarded - many scholarships. And it’s important to note that not all scholarships require you to have a financial need or an exceptionally-high grade point average. While it is certainly important to read the eligibility requirements before completing the application, there are many scholarships available to just about anyone.
The bottom line is to apply early and often! Fill out as many college scholarship applications as you can find, and when you've done that, find some more. The cost of college is not decreasing, and you will need the financial help; hopefully you’ll be able to graduate from college debt-free!
It is never too early to get the support and expertise to fund your student’s education. Call me, your personal college financial aid consultant, at 562.598.1162 or email me at email@example.com
for your complimentary one on one consultation.
All the best,
Financial Aid Consultant
College Financial Aid Advisors