This is the time of year when we talk about is FAFSA.
Have you heard of it? If you’re applying to college, you should know about it.
What is FAFSA?
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form that can be prepared annually by both current and prospective college students in the United States. This form is mainly used to determine a student’s eligibility for student financial aid. (source)
Federal Student Aid, which is a part of the U.S. Department of Education, is the largest provider of student financial aid in the nation. They provide more than $120 billion in federal student aid each year to help pay for college or other career school(s).
Check out this video and be taken through the basics of FAFSA.
Who is Eligible?
Almost every student can qualify for some form of student aid. You may think that even if your family income is high that you would not have a chance for a scholarship. While this is maybe true of need-based scholarships, you may be eligible for performance based scholarships also known as merit-based scholarships and/or other loans (such as the Stafford Loan) !
Your eligibility for federal grants (grants do not have to be repaid) and loans (loans have to be repaid) is usually based on your financial need. Your need will be based on what information you submit on your FAFSA form.
Most colleges, state scholarship agencies and foundations will use the information on the FAFSA when they are choosing their scholarship recipients, as well as how much they may receive. This means, that even if your family’s income puts you out of reach for a need-based scholarship, it will still be worth completing the form. In fact, many colleges and universities, require the FAFSA to offer even merit-based scholarships.
Important: When you file a FAFSA form, it will automatically qualify you for low cost federal student loans of at least $5,500 a year.
A student who can meet all of the following criteria may be eligible for aid: (Source)
Where Can You Find the FAFSA?
Most families will fill out their FAFSA online. This is the best option because it includes step-by-step instructions and it also contains pre-application worksheets that will help you through the process.
Filing your FAFSA online will offer several benefits like:
How Can I Preview My Eligibility?
FinAid’s Financial Aid Estimation Form may be used to calculate your EFC and an estimate of your eligibility for financial aid. This may help you understand a bit about how the federal need analysis system works. You can also run “what-if” experiments to see how much aid you’ll get under various scenarios. FinAid also has a QuickEFC calculator that uses much fewer questions to yield a ballpark estimate of your EFC. (1)(2)
Where Do You Begin? How Cash4College Can Help.
Understandably, you may worry about the cost of a college education. Many parents believe that their son or daughter will not qualify for a scholarship. However, that is not true. The key is finding the right type of scholarship(s). Some scholarships are given for academic achievement or athletic accomplishments; others are given because of volunteer work, ethnic or religious ties, etc… While most parents are worried about the potential debt, they can manage this challenge. A Cash4College counselor will provide parents all financial information to make good choices to identify institutional, college and foundation scholarships along with grants.
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Free October SAT Registration and CSS Profile Fee Waiver for Hurricane Harvey-Impacted StudentsThe College Board will offer a free October SAT registration, and a CSS Profile fee waiver to students affected by Hurricane Harvey.
We recognize this is an incredibly challenging time as you work to recover from the storm. We are taking this step to support students and families who are struggling as a result of the hurricane.
The free October SAT registration and CSS Profile fee waiver are for students who are experiencing hardship and/or displacement due to the hurricane and are in an area designated by FEMA. Please scroll down for the list of FEMA counties.
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While UST has grown to become a mid-size comprehensive university, it remains profoundly committed to offering a Catholic, liberal arts education in the Basilian tradition.
FAFSA Opens October 1st!
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With a curriculum rooted in Western civilization’s greatest thinkers, students develop reading, writing and critical thinking skills to prepare them for any number of life paths.
Dedicated to the pursuit of wisdom, of truth, and of virtueThe University of Dallas is dedicated to the pursuit of wisdom, of truth, and of virtue as the proper and primary ends of education. The University seeks to educate its students so they may develop the intellectual and moral virtues, prepare themselves for life and work in a problematic and changing world, and become leaders able to act responsibly for their own good and for the good of their family, community, country, and church.
The University understands human nature to be spiritual and physical, rational and free. It is guided by principles of learning that acknowledge transcendent standards of truth and excellence that are themselves the object of search in an education.
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FAFSA Opens October 1st!
The First Scholarship Step
Most parents and high schoolers want scholarships, but they do not know how or where to find them. It’s not their fault. Most schools treat the topic as an after-thought; many do not tell them or know how to direct them. How would parents and students know better? So, I’d like to shed some light on the most important first step; it’s called the Junior PSAT. Most are familiar with the test, but few realize its significance until it’s too late.
Case in point…
As I was speaking to a family about test scores, I quickly realized their senior never sat for the Junior PSAT. At first, I thought it was an error. Did she forget? Was she sick that day? Then, I was told the unfathomable., “I didn’t take the test because we were given an option, and I didn’t want the hassle. Plus, I skipped the small test fee.”
Needless to say, I was dumbfounded. As a private college counselor, I use numerous sources to identify good scholarships. The Junior PSAT is a very critical component because it can generate tremendous scholarship opportunities in the ballpark of tens of thousands of dollars if not more. More often than not, very well meaning dedicated parents are unaware of the significance of the test because they were never informed.
What is it?
The PSAT is known as the PSAT/NMSQT which stands for the Preliminary Scholastic Achievement Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Often, the name is shortened and only referred to as the PSAT. While it is helpful to refer to the shorter name, it often skirts the most critical element of the test…it generates scholarships hence the NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test).
The PSAT is a test administered in the sophomore year and junior year. Neither the sophomore PSAT nor the junior PSAT are used for college admission. Instead, the Sophomore PSAT is truly a practice SAT. The Junior PSAT, albeit a practice test for the SAT, is also used to determine if a student qualifies for the National Merit.
Yes. Lots of it. The College Board administers and manages both the SAT I, SAT II also known as SAT subject tests and the PSAT/NMSQT. Hence, the College Board oversees the registration and test distribution. However, the National Merit Organization reviews the national scores and determines if a student qualifies as National Merit Student…this means $$$. Money in the form of the National Merit Scholarship worth a minimum of $2,500 and institutional scholarships…a/k/a money from a university which could translate into a full ride worth up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, in some cases over $200,000.
Which Students Qualify?
All students qualify to take the Junior PSAT. While some schools schedule the test and pay the fee on behalf of their students, some schools allow each student to elect participation and then charge the students a fee. Needless to say, take the exam. Prepare for the exam. It can create tremendous scholarship opportunities.
How to prepare?
First, it begins with the proper mindset. If you told your high schooler that he could take an exam and then earn a large sum of money, your student would be encouraged to prep in order to increase his chances. Most students walk into the Junior PSAT in October of junior year completely unprepared. Let me give you specific examples: one student earned a perfect math score, 800, on her SAT, but she wasn’t as successful on her Junior PSAT. Why might you ask, she prepared for the SAT. Another student earned a 1510 on his SAT; impressive, right? Well, on his Junior PSAT, he only earned a 1360. While that’s a respectable score, it isn’t high enough to earn National Merit status.
How to Test Train Effectively?
Prepare, it’s that simple. 13-16 weeks prior to the Junior PSAT, a student needs training. Less than 5 % can adequately train themselves. They lack direction and execution. It’s time to hire a professional test trainer. Even if it costs you $1,500-$3,000 and your student became a National Merit Student and earned $80,000-$200,000, was it worth the investment? Of course!!
Word to the wise, regardless of the test trainer, there must be benchmarks in the training process. In other words, in week 1, there is a test administered by the test trainer, so your student establishes a baseline score. Each week, test training and homework should focus on specific skills. Then, another test should be administered in order for you and your high schooler to gauge progress. Without these benchmarks, no one can determine what is happening.
Also, if you notice absolutely no improvement, I can almost assure you that in 95% of the cases, the student is not completing the homework between test sessions. Test training without homework drills is comparable to working out at the gym and eating cake and pizza all week. You will not see results. The reverse is true. Homework drills are key. If you are a hand-off-kind-of parent, this is the time to become hands-on. You are talking about an enormous amount of money on the line.
Who Offers the Money?
The majority of the National Merit Scholarships are offered by the 420 corporate and college sponsors. The list is so extensive, that I’ve added it at the bottom of this article. Please look below my signature to see the list. To give you a better sense of what colleges provide, most of them offer large National Merit Scholarships focused on four main types of offers which include: tuition “plus,” full ride, full ride “plus” and outside awards tied to National Merit.
Tuition “plus” means that the student will receive a large award in addition to stipends and other funding that can almost equal a full fide. Full Ride, means that the student attend college for free; he does not pay for tuition, academic fees, room and board. Full Ride “plus” means that the student receives all that Full Ride offers and money for study abroad expenses, conferences, etc…., per each university. Lastly, there are other additional scholarships which are tied to the National Merit status but come from outside sources.
So, how can your student earn such tremendous opportunities?
How does a Student Qualify?
A student qualifies according to an index score. An index score is the total of the sub-scores in math, reading and writing. The process begins in October of a student’s Junior year, he will take the PSAT. If he receives a high index score (240 is the highest), he may be entered into the competition for the National Merit Scholarships.
During September of his senior year, he will receive a letter of commendation or qualification as a semifinalist in recognition for his high PSAT index score. Then, the student must take his SAT by December of his senior year. The semifinalists who meet requirements will advance to finalist standing. Finally, in March of his senior year, scholarship winners are notified. Many universities are very interested in these students and offer tremendous scholarship awards to attract them.
Want to know which corporations and universities sponsor such an incredible opportunity? Please look below my signature for the extensive list.
Also, are you passed Junior year? Don’t worry, there are numerous other generous scholarships.
Please feel free to contact me at (713)447-0064 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Nadine Underbrink, M.Ed.
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Your heart and mind will expand as you meet students and faculty from all over the globe.
As the Jesuit University of New York, our spirit is one of passionate engagement. Fordham shapes students who strive for excellence in everything they do, they care for others, and they fight for justice.
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FAFSA opens Oct 1st!!
NMSC Mission StatementThe mission of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) is to recognize and honor the academically talented students of the United States. NMSC accomplishes its mission by conducting nationwide academic scholarship programs. The enduring goals of NMSC's scholarship programs are:
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Many students have questions about eligibility for scholarships and other types of financial aid at Baylor. That's why we offer a free Scholarship and Cost Estimator for incoming undergraduate students.
The Scholarship and Cost Estimator assesses your eligibility for academic scholarships and other forms of financial aid based on the guidelines and estimated funding available for the 2017-2018 academic year. We provide you with a preliminary estimate of the academic scholarship you will be eligible to receive as well as your estimated financial aid package if we receive the results of your FAFSA by the priority deadline of February 1. Then we determine how much you will need to cover the remaining estimated cost.
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2018 - 2019
2018-2019 Deadlines Includes deadlines for all states.
Online applications must be submitted by midnight Central Time, June 30, 2019.
If you plan to attend college 2018-2019, you will submit FAFSA 2018-2019. You can submit the form Oct. 1 2017 - June 30, 2019.
Check with the college(s) you are interested in attending. You may also want to ask your college about its definition of an application deadline - whether it is the date the college receives your FAFSA, or the date your FAFSA is processed.
Nadine Underbrink, M.Ed.