The best single source of financial aid is through the college where you have applied. Each college has an Office of Financial Aid from which you may request a separate financial aid application. Keep in mind that most schools have a deadline of January or February for these applications if you plan to attend in the fall.
You should also check into the many scholarships that are available from outside sources including your parents' place of employment or private clubs/lodges as well as any outside groups or organizations of which you are a member.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is required by both public and private universities and colleges before scholarships or financial aid is awarded. For more information about the FAFSA and instructions, the website is www.fafsa.ed.gov. The filing priority date for most colleges is March 2. Within four weeks of filing by mail and a few days after filing online, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) from the federal processor. It will list the student’s expected family contribution, or EFC. A standard formula is used to calculate the EFC, based on the information the student provides on the FAFSA. The SAR will also be sent to the colleges you indicated on the FAFSA. The colleges will use the EFC to determine if you will be offered grants, loans, and/or work-study program. The earlier you file a FAFSA, the more likely you are to hear from the Commission early. Since most colleges have a May 1 deadline for intention to register, it is to your advantage to know as soon as possible about financial aid so that you can make an informed decision regarding which college you will attend. You will fill the FAFSA out your senior year in high school.
Ultimately, all financial aid decisions are made by the individual college; therefore, it is necessary for you to work with the financial aid officer at each school to which you are applying. Also, be sure to apply on time.
Complete a FAFSA by March 2!
- FAFSA Website
- Register for a Personal Identification Number (PIN)
- FAFSA4caster - early estimate of eligibility for financial aid
Many colleges, universities and private scholarship programs collect additional information to assist in the awarding of aid through non-federal financial aid programs. In particular, many private colleges require the CSS/PROFILE in addition to the FAFSA and some require that their own financial aid forms are submitted as well. If you are applying to one or more colleges on the CSS Code List (included in PROFILE registration material), you should complete both the FAFSA and PROFILE.
Please check with individual colleges for deadline dates.
In addition to Federal Student Aid, California also provides grants. Every high school senior who graduates, meets academic, financial and eligibility requirements, and applies on time, is guaranteed a Cal Grant award to attend college. In other words, this is free money. It costs nothing for you to apply and does not have to be repaid!
Complete the student section on the GPA Verification Form, print it out, get it signed by Mrs. Opstedal in room 34, and mail it to the Student Aid Commission on or before March 2.
All Cal Grants Applicants must:
- Be a high school graduate or graduate from high school in 2009
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen.
- Have a Social Security Number.
- Be a California resident.
- Attend a qualifying California School.
- Meet U.S. Selective Service Requirements, if required
- Be enrolled at least half-time.
- Maintain satisfactory academic progress.
- Have family income and assets below the established figures set each year.
- Not be in default of any student loan.
- Not owe any federal or state grant refunds.
- File the FAFSA and GPA Verification Form by the March 2 deadline.
- California Student Aid Commision
- Cal Grants
- GPA Verification Form
Wilson High School offers scholarships through various organizations.
- Fastweb - national database of scholarships
- Writing Competitions for College Money
- Database of colleges offering merit aid - see details of merit aid programs at any school
Additional Financial Aid Links
- www.finaid.org offers an overall look at financial aid, where to look for it and how to get it.
- www.californiacashforcollege.org lists free Cash for College workshops in your area where you and your parents can get help filling out the FAFSA. You may even win an additional $1,000 scholarship at a Cash for College workshop.
- www.icanaffordcollege.com for information on California Community Colleges and other kinds of financial aid.
- www.edfund.org for planning for college and managing a student loan.
- www.chafee.csac.ca.gov provides information on this exciting opportunity for foster youth and former foster youth.
- www.californiacolleges.edu makes finding and applying to a school in California a no-brainer.
- www.scholarshare.com provides valuable information about college savings opportunities.
- www.studentaid.ed.gov provides information from the U.S. Department of Education.
- www.going2college.org to learn about the college and financial aid resources available in each state.
- www.latinocollegedollars.org provides a scholarship directory for latino students.
- www.HealthJobsStartHere.com will introduce you to good jobs in healthcare that could be the right fit for you.
- www.whodouwant2b.com helps determine what courses to take in high school and community college.