Here are the things that Chris needs to do during his senior year of high school to prepare for higher education.
In August, you should start searching for scholarships. If you haven’t already taken the ACT during your junior year, you need to sign up and take it as soon as you can.
Access UtahFutures using your State Student Identification Number; if you have questions, ask your high school counselorUtahFutures can help you in planning YOUR futureUse assessments to match your interests to occupationsLearn more about these occupationsHow much you can earnWhat education is necessaryHow many of these jobs are expected in the futureFind a school that will teach you what you need to know for the job you want to doAnd much more…
During the fall semester of your senior year, you need to apply for admissions to colleges and universities. You also should start looking specifically at institutional scholarships. Some schools consider you for scholarships immediately when you apply for admissions; some require a separate application. And don’t forget, you have to keep studying! Grades from your senior year are very important.
Get everything ready to file the FAFSA. You will need: W-2 statements for yourself & your parentIncome tax returns Bank statementsRecords of any other income Real estate, business, and farm records Your Social Security Number Your driver’s license
As soon as you can get your taxes filed, it is time to complete the FAFSA. UHEAA travels around the state helping to hold FAFSA Nights at high schools; when January gets closer, check our Facebook page for updates on our FAFSA Nights.
Spring is a great time to take a campus tour of all the places you have applied to. Seeing your potential colleges in person can help narrow down your choices. UHEAA will be holding several spring events with the Utah Council on college campuses. We’ll have them posted on our Facebook page when spring gets closer, and these are a great chance to visit a campus. Spring is also when your acceptance letters will come in…but make sure you keep studying! Keeping good grades during your senior year is really important.
Graduate from high school! Definitely important.
During the summer after you graduate, you’ll probably need to do some kind of orientation. This might be online, or it might be on campus, but either way make sure you do it! Some places won’t let you register, or will put a hold on your account, until you complete orientation.
Five types of financial aid available Grants: free money, usually awarded on the basis of financial need (often as determined by the FAFSA)Scholarships: free money, awarded on varying criteria depending on who is donating the moneyWork-study: federal or state program where students can work, usually on campus, and the money made does not count against you in next year’s FAFSA Student loans: borrowed money, must be repaid! Savings: even $500 would be great, it will help you pay for books!
FAFSA is required to qualify for ANY OF THESE FUNDS! Pay attention to priority deadlines—also completion, not just FAFSA filing. Federal government determines this: Pell grant limit: $5,550 annual limitYour school will determine how much you can get of these: FSEOG (Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant): campus-based grant, funds awarded by institution, between $100 - $4,000 annually(discontinued) TEACH (Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education): intended for people who teach f/t within 8 years of graduation @ a Title I school, annual max award $4,000Even though this is titled as a grant, treat it as an unsubsidized loan. If recipients do not fulfill the teaching requirement, they must pay back the money received. HESSP (Higher Education Success Stipend Program): campus based grant, annual award between $300 and $5,000, only for residents of Utah, emphasis on work-study and has a broader definition of ‘needy student’ than the old UCOPE did
Scholarship myth: only super-smart or super-talented students get scholarships. Totally untrue! There are really tons of scholarships out there. Look for local organization’s scholarships, especially if you or your parents are a part of any organizations, and always be searching. One of the best resources for scholarships are your high school counselors—ask them questions! Online resources to use: www.utahfutures.org’s scholarship search; fastweb.com, college.ed.gov https://studentaid2.ed.gov/getmoney/scholarship/v3browse.asp) .
All information gathered from colleges based on 2010-2011 school year.
Know your deadlines—some scholarships require apps to be postmarked by a certain day, others require apps to be RECEIVED at the scholarship office by a certain day. When in doubt, send it in two to three weeks early. Make sure you know what is required in the applicationPut some effort into your essays; don’t send the same thing to everyone. You have to at least tweak it to be relevant to the specific scholarship you’re applying for. Ask for letters of recommendation well in advance—at least two months. The best letters of recommendation come from people who know you WELL. It’s also helpful to give your recommendation writers a little background. They’ll need to know what scholarship you’re applying for, as well as what you do that makes you a good fit for the award. Include a resume of sorts, detailing your academic achievements, athletic prowess, community service, unique talents, etc. This will help your recommender write a really personal letter. Save outstanding writing assignments from classes. Think ahead, and see if you can make school assignments fulfill the requirements of a scholarship essay as well! Keep all your scholarship info together so it’s easy to tweak essays.
Gathered from www.finaid.org; Follow the directions—if your essay/application doesn’t meet the basic criteria, the selection committee won’t consider it. Tailor your essay to the scholarship—relevance, relevance, relevance. Be yourself, and be memorable—let your writing reflect the things you’ve learned from the life experience you have, and don’t be pretentious. Write about something you care about. Passion shows through much more than anything else. Give examples in your writing. Don’t just say, “I have good leadership qualities,” give an example of a time that you actually put those leadership skills into play. Be honest! Be honest about your accomplishments—no exaggerating—and why you are deserving of the scholarship. For more help: www.finaid.org has detailed advice on writing good scholarship essays
From Kate Gildea @ USU:Take the ACT at least 3 times….we want to see that they are actually trying not just trying once and expecting to get a scholarshipIt always helps for the student to know the recruiter over their school. This might not be universal to all campuses, but for USU, the recruiter over the school always sits in on the needs based, diversity or leadership scholarship that we offer. If we have worked with a student and we know them, it’s a lot easier to plead their case if we know who they are.Get involved! This doesn’t mean to join every club at the HS. For me, I would MUCH rather look at a student that has completely dumped themselves into one thing like Student Gov, Sports, Best Buddies, etc rather than seeing that they are in EVERY club offered where I know they aren’t really doing much with the club (NHS, DECA, FBLA etc) Does that make sense?From Katie Jo Nielsen @ USU: Don’t rely on what each institution can give you for scholarships. Search out private endowments, ask high school counselors, apply for financial aid. I’m amazed more and more every year how if I don’t give them a scholarship, they can’t go to school. There are a lot of options out there for them. They can work, take loans, get outside scholarships, but it is possible they just need to put in the effort required. Pay attention to deadlines! Most schools have moved up deadlines and/or have priority deadlines now. I know for us we had to have a waiting list this year and were not able to award all the students that applied by the late deadline. So apply early and don’t wait until the last minute or they will probably miss out on opportunities.From Jenn Putnam @ USU: Convince me you want to be at my school—amidst all of your accomplishments, be sure to explain why you think you are the perfect fit for my college/university. I want to know that you are committed to getting to my school with or without the scholarship (even though the scholarship would be nice).Show me you have a plan for success and that you’ve done your research—I love when students move right from what they’ve done in high school to what they plan to do in college. I am very impressed when they mention on-campus student groups they plan to join by name; or they’ve researched academic support services they plan to take advantage of so they can try and keep life balanced. It says a lot when you can see they have direction and they’re determined to see that vision through.Talk about your financing plan with and without scholarship help—typically scholarships won’t even cover full tuition, so I appreciate it when a student shares their plan to pay for school. Tell me about other scholarships you are looking into; tell me you’ve filed the FAFSA; tell me you’re working two jobs this summer…tell me you’re doing whatever it takes to get here so that I don’t feel you’re looking for a free handout.(Advice gathered from Utah State University employees who sit on scholarship selection committees regularly.)
AmbassadorsRA’s: often get living space for free https://studentaid2.ed.gov/getmoney/scholarship/v3browse.asp
The next kind of financial aid is work-study programsWhat you earn won’t count against you for next year’s financial aid Earnings are still taxed, but not included in the calculation for determining EFC; this raises your chances of getting a grant next year
As of July 1, 2010, all student loans come directly from the federal government through a program called Federal Direct. For Stafford loans, you might qualify for “subsidized” loans—this means the government will pay the interest on your loan while you’re in school. These are awarded depending on “financial need” (and we’ll get to that in more detail when we talk about the FAFSA). Just about anyone will qualify for an unsubsidized Stafford loan (where the student is responsible for paying the interest accrued while in school)Perkins funding is continually reevaluated Potential forgiveness clause (working in high-need fields such as underrepresented fields or public service?) Private loans are made by banks, credit unions, or other financial entities. They often have fewer borrower protections than federal loans, so use all the federal loans available to you before turning to private loans. Usually carry higher interest ratesNo deferments/forbearances
Saving for college is another often overlooked way to pay for college, and sometimes the most reliable. Bank savings accounts with good interest rates, like CD accounts are a good way to accrue money for college. 529 savings accounts are basically investments dedicated to higher education.
You can get an idea about what your EFC will be by going to www.fafsa4caster.ed.gov. Even for independentsingle individuals, still called an EFC
The above case is true for all but the Pell: your EFC alone determines if you qualify for a Pell grant. The Pell grant amount is prorated based on if you are full-time or half-time and what your EFC is (using a table at the financial aid office).
Free Application for Federal Student AidRequired for all Federal Financial AidGrantsWork-studyFederal Loan ProgramsMany scholarships now require it too!Fill it out online at: www.fafsa.govYou will need your financial information for thisIf you are a “dependent” student, you will need your parents’ informationE-sign using a PIN! Get yours at www.pin.ed.govAvailable in English and Spanish
Here is the information that you will need to fill out the FAFSASocial Security Card or NumberRecords of taxable income, like your W-2Income Tax ReturnParents’ Income Tax ReturnRecords of untaxed income, like TANF, Social Security, Some Military EarningsYour most recent Bank StatementAlien Registration or Permanent Resident CardRecords for your Business, Farm and InvestmentsVerification: documentation is often required of those filing a FAFSA. Have all this information on hand so you can give it all to the school at any time.
No obligation to accept all aid; you can pick and choose!Example: if you are offered $3,500 in student loans, but you only need $1,000 after your scholarships are applied, then you can accept just the $1,000.
Deadline to complete financial aid file Want it ready before classes startEarly deadlines = additional types of financial aidRemember…File a new FAFSA every year. Priority deadlines
Any questions? Open up to Q&A w/UHEAA & UASFAA professionals.
Regional Finaid Aid Nights, HS Tour 2011
Financial Aid & Scholarship Night <br />A UHEAA Presentation <br />
Spring College Nights<br />Weber State University: March 13, 2012<br />Salt Lake Community College: March 14, 2012<br />Utah Valley University: March 20, 2012<br />USU Eastern: March 21, 2012<br />Dixie State College: March 22, 2012<br />
MAY - JUNE<br />Can you see me? I’m the one in the<br />black cap. <br />
Preparing for Scholarships<br />Deadline<br />Application <br />Essay <br />Letters of recommendation <br />Save outstanding writing assignments!<br />
Scholarship Essays<br />Follow the directions<br />Tailor your essay to the scholarship<br />Be yourself, and be memorable <br />Write about something you care about<br />Give examples <br />Be honest<br />Spelling & grammar check (have two readers)<br />
Eight Tips from the Experts<br />ACT efforts <br />Get to know your recruiter<br />Get involved<br />Search beyond institutions <br />Deadlines! <br />Convince the committee that you’re the perfect fit <br />Show your plan for success <br />Demonstrate your financial backup plan<br />
Other Scholarship Resources<br />UtahFutures.org<br />Institutional Ambassador Programs<br />Resident Advisor Programs<br />AmeriCorps <br />Fastweb.com<br />College.ed.gov<br />Zinch.com<br />Most scholarships come from the institution you attend! <br />
FAFSA—Expected Family Contribution (EFC)</li></li></ul><li>Financial Need <br /><ul><li>COA – EFC = Financial Need
Financial need is used to determine what types of aid you qualify for</li></li></ul><li>FAFSA<br /><ul><li>Free Application for Federal Student Aid
Required for all Federal Financial Aid</li></ul>Grants<br />Work-study<br />Federal Loan Programs<br /><ul><li>Available January 1 at www.fafsa.gov
E-sign using a PIN! </li></ul>Get yours at www.pin.ed.gov<br /><ul><li>Available in English and Spanish</li></li></ul><li>Ready, Set, FAFSA! <br />Collect your financial information<br />Tax documents<br />Bank account information<br />Investment information<br />Social Security Number or Alien Registration Number<br />Income information<br />Fill out your federal income tax return<br />Verification documentation <br />
After the FAFSA<br />Complete financial aid application<br />Award letters<br />Often online <br />Explain what types of aid are available<br />Choose what aid you accept and let your school know<br />
What if your situation has changed from last year?<br />If you have experienced…<br />Parent lost a job<br />Medical expenses that weren’t covered by insurance<br />Parents divorced<br />You cannot get your parents’ info<br />Any other unusual changes <br />
Contact the school’s financial aid office!<br />