Archive | November, 2016

Check into state grant (free!) money

22 Nov

questions_answers_graphic_faid_ay_noticeMany states have grant programs that assist students with college expenses. Grants are money gifts that do not need to be paid back. In California a student who can demonstrate financial need can receive the following: University of California: $12,240; California State University, $5,472; eligible private colleges, $9,084). If you do not live in California, do a search on college grant money in your state by Googling “your state name + financial aid” (example: “Oregon + financial aid).

In California you must do two things to be considered for a Cal Grant, and requirements are similar in other states:

  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) between Oct. 1 and Mar. 2 (www.fafsa, — listing the schools for a Cal Grant FIRST.
  • Make sure your high school has submitted your Cal Grant GPA verification. Verify this with your high school counselor.

The California Student Aid Commission encourages all students to apply for a Cal Grant, even if they think their parents make too much money (for income/asset limits, see It is possible that a family’s income picture can drastically change overnight — so it’s good to have the paperwork requirements in place if that happens.

See your counselor today for more information!

ABC’s of financial aid

15 Nov

The language of financial aid can be confusing!

The language of financial aid can be confusing!

Are you completely confused by the language of financial aid?

Do you know what these terms mean? Data Release Number. Student Aid Report. Direct Subsidized Loans. Direct Unsubsidized Loans. Direct PLUS Loans.

This helpful glossary defines the terms used by the U.S. Department of Education.

If filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASA) is a new experience for you, I’d suggest you print this out and refer to it as you might need. The website has all the information you need. Take time to read through the various links carefully so that you understand what the process is, what your obligations in seeking financial aid are, and how financial aid can help you reach your educational dreams.

Some colleges want the CSS/Profile, not the FAFSA

10 Nov

Financial aid isn't automatic. You have to apply for it!

Financial aid isn’t automatic. You have to apply for it!

By now you must understand that to receive a financial aid offer, you typically complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which could have been filed as early as October 1 by going to–making sure to list ALL of the colleges to which you are applying on that FAFSA (list your home state’s colleges FIRST). (Please note that each state has a deadline for consideration for its grant programs, and colleges will have deadlines for financial aid info, too. California’s deadline for grant consideration is March 2–check with your counselor to find out your state’s deadline.)

However, some private schools require what is known as the CSS/Profile instead of or in addition to the FAFSA. The CSS/Profile is done through the College Board–the organization that also coordinates AP and SAT programs.

Heads up, seniors and parents: There is a small fee for filing this documentation, which is much more extensive than the FAFSA. More information about the CSS/Profile and what is involved is available at this website:

And yes, it can be filed now. The window of application started October 1.

While all of this financial aid process is burdensome during the same time when you are completing college applications, it is hoped that colleges will now be able to make financial aid offers more quickly — so that’s a plus for you!