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Student Resources

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Early Bird Gets
The Worm 

Many government grants are awarded on a first come, first served basis. So filling out your FAFSA early pays off. 

Not All Money
Is Free Money 

About 38% of student financial aid is awarded in the form of federal loans, meaning that the money will need to be paid back.

Fill Out A FAFSA Annually 

Financial aid eligibility is calculated annually, so your expected family contribution can change from year to year based on fluctuations in income.

Good Grades
= Money 

If you receive financial aid, you must maintain a good grade point average to continue to receive financial aid.

Men Must Be
Registered 

If you are male, you must have registered for the United States selective service to be eligible to receive federal financial aid. 

FAFSA Is Used For More
Than The Government 

Colleges often use the FAFSA to determine who qualifies for their own need-based financial aid programs. 

FAFSA Money Won’t
Make You Rich 

Financial aid is not intended to support a luxurious lifestyle. Grant and loan money is calculated based on the cost of tuition, room and board, books, and other education expenses.

Checklist for Seniors Going to College

1

September-October 

1. Register for the ACT and/or SAT. If previous test scores aren’t where they need to be, seek help to prepare for whichever test you take.
   
2. Take a look at some college applications to make sure you know all the pieces of information you will need to compile.
   
3. Make an appointment with your school counselor to be sure you are on track to graduate and fulfill college admissions requirements.
   
4. Take every opportunity to get to know colleges. Many high schools bring in college representatives to visit with students. Attend local college fairs, and visit college campuses.

 5. Start working on your college application essay and begin gathering recommendation letters from teachers, school counselors, and school employees.
   
6. It’s time to narrow down your list of colleges so you can collect information about the application and financial aid process at each school. Some colleges will have deadlines (rolling, priority, early decision, and early action) as early as October. If you cannot afford the application fees that many colleges charge, ask your counselor to help you request a fee waiver.

7. File your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon after October 1 as possible. In addition to determining your eligibility for federal funds, many colleges and states use the form when distributing grants.
   
8. Research scholarships. Ask your counselor, your colleges, and local religious and civic groups about scholarship opportunities.

9. Create a checklist and calendar to keep track of standardized test dates, college application due dates, and financial aid deadlines. Note additional materials you will need such as recommendations or essays you will need to complete your applications. 

2

 November-January   

1. Finalize and send any early decision or early action applications due in November or December. It’s always a good idea to have a parent, teacher, counselor, or other adult review the application before it is submitted. Also, be sure to photocopy all information sent.
   
2. Make sure testing companies have sent your scores directly to the colleges to which you are applying.
   
3. Every college will require a copy of your transcript from your high school. In January, ask your guidance office to send first semester transcripts to schools where you applied.

4. Many popular and selective colleges will have application deadlines as early as January 1. Others have deadlines later in January and February.

5. Create a post-application checklist and mark off items to make sure you have done everything required.  

3

 February-May   

1. Acceptance letters and financial aid offers will start to arrive. Review your acceptances, compare financial aid packages, and visit your final choices.
   
2. Don’t slack in the classroom. The college you decide to attend will want to see your second semester transcript.
Also, if you are wait-listed by a college, the college will want to know what you have accomplished between the time you applied and the time you learned of its decision.

3. Speaking of wait-listed, if you are wait-listed by a college you really want to attend, visit, call, and write the admission office to make your interest clear. Ask how you can strengthen your application.

4. May 1 is the date when the college you plan to attend requires a commitment and deposit, so send in the deposit by the postmark date of May 1. If you’ve been offered financial aid, accept the offer and follow the instructions given. Also notify schools you will not attend of your decision.

5. Cross everything off your graduation checklist and graduate!

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