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Alliance Gertz-Ressler High School

College Resources » Financial Aid

Financial Aid

Financial Aid

 

Don't let the high cost of college discourage you. Numerous sources of financial aid can help you afford even the most expensive schools. In fact, nearly half of all college students receive some financial aid. The key is to start saving and researching now.

 

Save Early: Consider the types of college you might attend (public, private, urban, rural), the requirements of your potential major (books, supplies), and living costs (housing, transportation, food). Estimate your financial needs, and begin saving money each month. Many banks offer special college savings accounts.

 

Explore Your Options: You can apply for several types of aid from federal and state agencies, private foundations, and colleges. The federal government alone provides nearly $50 billion in student aid to U.S. citizens annually. Delve into the topics below for more information.

 

Financial aid is based on the amount a family is expected to pay for college, called the Expected Family Contribution or EFC.  Therefore, although the costs of colleges vary widely, the dollar amount a family is expected to contribute to a student’s college education will not. If the family’s EFC is calculated at $5,000 and a school’s total cost is $15,000, the family’s need is $10,000.  If the school’s cost is $40,000, the same family’s need is $35,000.  Not all colleges guarantee to meet the family’s full need, but many do.  There are numerous instances where students end up paying less to go to a school that costs $40,000 than they do at a UC because private colleges often have more money available for aid. In addition, the amount students have to borrow from a private college may be less.  We encourage almost all families to apply for financial aid since you may be eligible for more aid than you think.  In addition, in case there is a family emergency that affects income, your forms will be on file and you will be able to discuss contingencies with the college financial aid office.  To get an idea of what your EFC is, go to www.collegeboard.com and click on “Pay for College” and then “Calculators.” 

 

Financial Aid Calculators - The most popular calculators are the College Cost Projector, Savings Plan Designer, Financial Aid Estimation Calculator and Loan Payment Calculator.

 

MOST IMPORTANT – CHECK WITH EACH COLLEGE WHERE THE STUDENT IS APPLYING TO DETERMINE THE PRIORITY DEADLINES FOR APPLYING FOR FINANCIAL AID.  THE DEADLINE FOR THE UC’S, CAL STATE UNIVERSITIES AND COMMUNITY COLLEGES IS MARCH 2ND, BUT THE DEADLINE FOR MANY PRIVATE SCHOOLS IS EARLIER.  ALSO CHECK TO FIND OUT WHICH FORMS ARE REQUIRED.

 

The Student Guide - This government publication is one of the best, most concise and well-organized explanations of the financial aid process anywhere. Check it out to discover the answers to all your financial aid questions! http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/funding.jsp     



Need Based Aid

Need based aid is based on a family’s income and assets.  Colleges assess a family’s need by evaluating one or more forms provided by the family.  

 

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

  • Required by all colleges.
  • File as soon as possible after January 1, but no later than the earliest deadline for colleges to which you are applying.  Start working on your applications early so that you have time to get together all of the requested information.  Don’t wait until the last minute!
  • Fill out the form either online at www.fafsa.ed.gov or use the downloadable paper application.  We strongly recommend the online application because there is less possibility of error and the colleges receive your information much more quickly. 
  • For online submissions, two PIN numbers are required – one for the student and one for a parent.  The PIN number is your electronic signature.  These can be obtained at www.pin.ed.gov.  Request your PIN numbers as soon as possible as it could take up to 3-4 days to obtain them. 
  • Use your name exactly as it appears on your social security card or the FAFSA may be rejected. 
  • You can start filling out the 2009-2010 FAFSA online beginning January 1, even if you have not received your PIN numbers.  Do NOT use the 2008-2009 forms
  • There is no charge for filling out and submitting the FAFSA.

FAFSA On the Web They promise quicker turnaround time if you fill out the FAFSA on the web. It's a good idea to pick up a hard copy of the FAFSA in the counseling center so you know ahead of time what information they are going to require.

FAFSA PIN - Before you can apply for financial aid online, you need to register for a Personal Identification Number (PIN) for you and your parents. This serves as you electronic signature when you fill out the FAFSA online

Title IV School Codes - You'll need these school codes when you fill out the FAFSA. Very quick way to the code numbers!

FAFSA Help - Here you will find all the answers to your questions about filling out the FAFSA. There are even photos of the form with very exact instructions on completing the questions.

 

CSS Profile

·      Required by many private colleges.  Not required by the UC’s, Cal State Universities or community colleges.

·      Completing the Profile is a two step process.  First, the student must register, then fill out the Profile itself.  The Profile can only be filled out online at www.collegeboard.com.

·      The Profile costs $25 for the first college, plus $16 for additional school to which you want the information sent.  There are a limited number of fee waivers available for low income students.  They are awarded automatically online and cover the costs of sending the information to six colleges.

CSS Financial Aid Profile https://profileonline.collegeboard.com/index.jsp

 

Individual College Forms

Some colleges require additional forms provided by their school.  It is very important to check with each school to determine their requirements and deadlines.  Some colleges will also require a copy of your completed tax forms.


Merit Aid

There are many schools that offer merit aid, usually in the form of scholarships or grants that do not need to be repaid. Aid is based on the student’s grades in high school and/or test scores, as well as special talents. A student does not have to have all “A’s” on his/her transcript in order to receive merit aid. Many less-known but excellent educational institutions offer this type of aid in order to encourage successful students to attend. We can recommend colleges that do offer merit aid, so please encourage your student to meet with one of us to discuss this possibility.

 

Encourage your student to apply to a wide variety of schools that meet their needs.  If they are applying to schools that are more selective in admissions, urge them to include some less selective ones as well. Similarly, if students are interested in very expensive schools, encourage them to apply as long as they also apply to some less expensive ones. Although the cost of private schools may look too high, many private schools have more resources than public ones.

 


Private Scholarships


There are many private scholarships available.  We have numerous applications in the College Center. You can also sign up at www.fastweb.com to get information on scholarships. Check with your employer or union, if you belong to one.  There are varying deadlines, so it is important to keep track of them.

 

DO NOT PAY MONEY TO GET INFORMATION ABOUT PRIVATE SCHOLARSHIPS.  THERE ARE MANY SCAMS.  IF IN DOUBT, PLEASE CHECK WITH MS. ROMERO!

 

Don't Fall for Scholarship Scams: Applying for financial aid is free! You will only need to fill out the FAFSA application and the CSS Profile. Be weary of companies offering to find scholarships for you for a fee. Go to this website: http://www.finaid.org/scholarships/scams.phtml to learn more about scholarship scams. You can actually search for free online or go to your local library for a list of scholarships. Check out other scholarship search services on this website: http://www.finaid.org/scholarships/other.phtml

 

Some students may feel that it takes too much time to apply for these scholarships.  Remember that financial aid packages are generally made up of scholarships or grants that do not have to be repaid, loans that do have to be repaid, and work-study.  Private scholarships can be used in place of loans.  Consider how long it will take to earn $2,000 to pay back a loan when a student is earning $20 an hour or less after graduation.  Then consider how long it takes to fill out an application for a scholarship and you will realize that the time is well spent.

 

If you have further questions, please visit Ms. Romero in the College Center or contact Ms. Romero at mromero@laalliance.org