Archive | February, 2014

Check off your to-do list!

12 Feb

While you have probably completed all college applications and are in the throes of scholarship applications, don’t also forget to do the following:

  • Submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid: by the end of February. California has a March 2nd deadline — but “the sooner, the better” will help you get your financial aid offer back more quickly.
  • Some colleges require the CSS Profile for financial aid consideration:¬†
  • Encourage your parents to file their income tax returns early, because some colleges may request copies of your family’s returns before they send financial aid offers.
  • Take any requested placement tests (English, math) that your colleges of choice may require.
  • Have your SAT and/or ACT scores sent if they haven’t already been sent.

Make sure that you daily check your portal on your various colleges’ websites. Staying on top of your to-do list will help smooth out your decision-making process!

Help for the middle class!

7 Feb

California will start to phase in the Middle Class Scholarship (MCS) starting with the 2014-15 school year. Grant (free) money will be given to undergraduate students whose parents make up to $150,000 a year.

If your parents make up to $100,000, you can get as much as 40 percent paid toward tuition and fees. If your parents make up to $150,00, you can get as much as 10 percent paid toward tuition and fees.

Here are the basic requirements, as provided by the California Student Aid Commission:

1. You need to be a California resident attending a UC or CSU, be a U.S. citizen (or permanent resident or meet AB 540 status).

2. You’ll need to complete the FAFSA ( or the California Dream Act Application ( between Jan. 1 and Mar. 1 yearly.

MCS scholarships are not set amounts and may vary by student and institution. The award is determined after you are awarded any federal Pell Grant, Cal grant and college, need-based grants. (You should complete the Cal Grant GPA Verification by Mar. 2 through your high school counselor.)

The grant will be phased in over four years, with the amount increasing each year up to the maximum awards in 2017-18.

For more information, see your high school counselor, talk to a college financial aid advisor, attend a Cash for College Night (see, or visit the California Student Aid Commission website:



Need Cash for College?

5 Feb

As a high school academic advisor I am hosting a Cash for College Night at my high school tonight. Seniors and their parents will come to get help from college financial aid officers to complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) — as well as the Cal Grant GPA Verification form . . . and one student will win a randomly-drawn $1,000 scholarship and another a $2,000 academics-based scholarship.

If you are a California high school senior, you could take advantage of this program offered by the California Student Aid Commission. Just check out this website to find one near you (which does not have to be your own high school):

Even if you don’t live in California, there is a lot of help available to find your way through the maze of financial aid applications. Just check with your high school counselor or check out Remember that there are deadlines for completing the FAFSA. In California, it is important to complete both the Cal Grant GPA Verification form and the FAFSA on or before March 2.

Get ‘er done, seniors!