Category Archives: UCanGo2 Resources

Aid Eligibility for Undocumented Students

Although a student must have a valid Social Security Number to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and qualify for federal student aid, undocumented students are eligible for other forms of financial aid for college.

*Remember, if your parent does not have a Social Security Number, but you do, you are eligible to complete a FAFSA and receive federal student aid. Your parent, however, will not be able to set up an FSA ID (Federal Student Aid ID) to electronically sign the FAFSA. Instead, he or she can print, sign and mail in a paper signature page.

One form of aid undocumented students can receive is the Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant (OTAG). This is available to students who can answer yes to the following questions:

  • Have you graduated from a public or private high school in Oklahoma?
  • Have you resided in Oklahoma with a parent or guardian while attending a public or private high school in Oklahoma for at least two years prior to graduation?
  • Have you satisfied the admission standards for the institution?
  • Have you provided to the institution a copy of a true and correct application or petition filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to legalize the student’s immigration status?

If you answered yes to these questions, you should apply for OTAG as soon as possible after October 1 prior to each year you plan to attend college. You can find the application for undocumented students at: https://content.xap.com/media/8335/2019-20-OTAG-undoc.pdf.

Undocumented students may also receive scholarships through their college or university, foundation offices or private companies. Check out a list of scholarships for DACA and Dreamer Students here and search and apply for additional scholarships by visiting UCanGo2.org, OKcollegestart.org and OCCF.org.

November is National Scholarship Month

November is National Scholarship Month, and it’s an excellent time to begin applying for scholarships if you haven’t done so already. Many scholarship providers are posting new scholarship information and competitions for the next academic year, and November is also an ideal month to dedicate some time to finding scholarships for college (think Thanksgiving Break!).  Remember, scholarships are ‘free money’. They’re gift aid that doesn’t have to be paid back.

There are many ways students can qualify for scholarships. They are often based on a student’s talents, abilities, skills or participation in extra-curricular activities. They can also be given because of a student’s ancestry or religious affiliation, or for a variety of other reasons.

Apply for as many scholarships as you can. Many experts say that high school seniors should apply for 2-3 scholarships each week. But where do you begin? We suggest starting your search at UCanGo2.org and okcollegestart.org, where you’ll find hundreds of scholarship opportunities. Also, be sure to check out UCanGo2’s Scholarship Success Guide, where you’ll find many more websites that you can use to investigate scholarships of all types and helpful tips for maximizing your scholarship dollars.

For helpful information about all types of financial aid that are available, be sure to check out UCanGo2’s Are You Looking for Money? booklet.

FAFSA Dependency Status

Will I be considered a dependent or independent student on my Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?

While completing your FAFSA, you’ll answer up to 13 questions about your dependency status. If you answer NO to every question, you’ll be considered a dependent student and will be asked to supply your parents’ income and tax information as well as your own.

If you answer YES to any one of those questions, you’ll be considered an independent student and will be asked to supply only your own income and tax information (and your spouse’s, if applicable).

For the list of current dependency status questions, take a look at the Dependency Questionnaire available at UCanGo2.org.

Exceptions can sometimes be made for dependent students who are unable to supply parental information. If the FAFSA says you’re dependent and you believe your status should be changed to independent, be sure to discuss your situation with a financial aid officer at your school(s) of interest. Fair warning, though—the FAFSA states that you won’t be switched to an independent status simply because:

  • You don’t live with your parents.
  • Your parents don’t provide you with financial support.
  • Your parents refuse to contribute to your college expenses.
  • Your parents don’t claim you as a dependent on their income tax return.
  • Your parents don’t want to provide their information on your FAFSA.

Still have questions? First, read Reporting Parent Information at StudentAid.ed.gov; then be sure to visit with a campus financial aid officer.

FAFSA Now Available

On Oct. 1 (today) the 2019-2020 Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, becomes available for students to complete in order to receive financial assistance for college. In order to receive most types of federal and state aid, students must submit a FAFSA annually. To make sure you apply for all the financial aid that’s available to you, complete your FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1.

This year students can access the FAFSA by visiting FAFSA.gov or by using the myStudentAid mobile app. Prior to completing the application, set up your FSA ID (Federal Student Aid ID) and gather personal documents and financial information. Students and parents will each need to create an FSA ID in order to electronically sign the FAFSA. It’s best to create your FSA ID now before starting your FAFSA, if possible. Go to fsaid.ed.gov to create your FSA ID and utilize our FSA ID worksheet to help you keep up with your login information for the FAFSA.

It’s best to gather all the materials you’ll need before you start the FAFSA, such as your Social Security card, driver’s license and important financial information. Parents and students will need their tax return and other income information from tax year 2017 to accurately report their data. By taking the time to create your FSA ID and to gather your important documents before you start the application, you’ll be ready to successfully complete the 2019-2020 FAFSA when you start the application.

For additional information, please visit StartWithFAFSA.org.

Completing the FAFSA

Completing the FAFSA is as easy as 1, 2, 3… 4, 5!

  1. Gather Materials – You’ll need your social security card, current bank statements and, if you’re a dependent student, your parent(s)’ information. For the 2019-2020 FAFSA, you’ll also need your 2017 W2s and tax returns.
  2. Create an FSA ID – This username and password is used to electronically sign your FAFSA and other important financial aid paperwork. Visit fsaid.ed.gov to sign up.
  3. Fill It Out – The FAFSA is available at FAFSA.ed.gov after October 1 each year. Check out the “Tool Tips” question mark box beside each field for assistance with each question.
  4. Sign & Submit – Enter your FSA ID to serve as your electronic signature. Don’t forget to click submit at the bottom of the screen.
  5. Follow Up – Watch your email for a Student Aid Report (SAR) and information from the schools who’ve received your FAFSA results. Be sure to follow up with the financial aid office at your school if you have additional questions.

For more details, check out the Finish the FAFSA in Five Steps guide or watch the Finish the FAFSA in Five videos on our YouTube page, available in both English and Spanish.

The FAFSA is Always FREE

NEVER pay to complete the FAFSA; the FAFSA is always free. As a matter of fact, that’s what the first F stands for: Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

If you plan to submit the form online, be sure to file at FAFSA.gov, and avoid sites that offer to complete and submit your FAFSA for a hefty fee.

Also, be on the lookout for companies that claim they’ll help you with your FAFSA. These companies will often charge you for assistance that you could get for free elsewhere. If you are looking for help with the FAFSA, visit our FAQs page or our resources page to find helpful tips through the process. You can also visit https://fafsa.ed.gov/help.htm to find more assistance.

FAFSA Completion Chart

Everyone Should Apply!

With a new mobile app and a redesigned website, completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has never been faster or easier. However, there’s one mistake students and their parents often make: not completing the FAFSA at all!

Each year, many families don’t complete the FAFSA because they think they make too much money to qualify for aid. Counting yourself out before even starting is a huge mistake! Even if you think you won’t qualify for aid, you should still submit the FAFSA anyway.
Here’s why:

  • You could be missing out. Billions of financial aid dollars are offered every year. Those funds will be awarded to someone… and that “someone” could be you. But you’ll never know if you don’t apply!
  • Your school might use the data for other financial aid. Some schools use the data on your FAFSA to award school-specific grants and scholarships. So, in addition to missing out on federal funding, you could take yourself out of the running for school aid by choosing not to submit the FAFSA.
  • Federal student loans offer options. Even if you’re positive you’ll only qualify for student loans and you’re unsure about borrowing money for school, federal loans could be your best option. Federal student loans offer more flexible repayment plans than private or alternative loans. They’re also a better option than high interest credit cards.
  • There’s no obligation. You’re not required to accept the aid offered to you. You’ll have the option to decline any aid offered, or you may choose to limit how much you borrow.

The FAFSA is available on Oct. 1, so apply as soon after as possible at FAFSA.gov

FSA ID

It won’t be long until it’s time to submit next year’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The 2019-2020 FAFSA will be available October 1, 2018.

Did you know that it’s best to create your Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) before you complete your FAFSA? In fact, you can do it today! The FSA ID is a username and password that you’ll use to sign your completed FAFSA, and it will also allow you to log on to other websites later on. You must only create your own FSA ID; parents of dependent students should not create an ID for their children, and vice versa. Because the FSA ID is your unique electronic signature, you should never share it with anyone else, including a parent or financial aid advisor.

Go to fsaid.ed.gov to get started. While creating your FSA ID, be sure to provide an email address that you plan to use permanently—don’t use a business address or one issued by your high school or college. If you choose, you can also list your mobile phone number in order to receive text messages from the Federal Student Aid processing center. It’s important to know that each email address and mobile number can be used for only one FSA ID, so don’t use the same email/phone information that your parent uses.

Ready to create your FSA ID? The process is easy, and there’s a tool that’ll make it even easier! Use the FSA ID worksheet to help you get started, and then keep it in a safe location to refer to later as needed.

We wish you the best of luck on your first step in the federal financial aid process.

FSA ID Worksheet

Get Ready, Get Set, FAFSA!

Oct. 1 is quickly approaching, and we all know what happens then, right? The 2019-2020 Free Application for Federal Student AID (FAFSA) opens! Take these steps now to prepare.

  1. Create your FSA ID. The Federal Student Aid ID is a username and password used to electronically sign your FAFSA and complete other important financial aid paperwork. The student and one parent will each need their own FSA ID. Be sure to keep track of the username and password you create. You’ll use your FSA ID for years to come, so be sure to use a personal email account when creating your FSA ID. You may not always have access to your school issued email account in the future.
  2. Gather your tax information. The 2019-2020 FAFSA will request 2017 tax information. Take the time now to locate 2017 income and tax information for both the student and parent(s). The IRS Data Retrieval Tool will be available for students and parents to transfer tax information directly from the IRS into the FAFSA. However, it will still be important to have your tax documents with you when you complete the FAFSA.
  3. Think about where you’re headed. You’ll have the opportunity to send your FAFSA to up to 10 schools you’re considering attending. Keep in mind you can log back into your FAFSA to add and remove schools if your plans change. Check out org to learn more about schools that would be a good fit for you and your goals.
  4. Ask questions. If you have special circumstances that you believe impact your ability to complete the FAFSA, ask for guidance now! Ask us by clicking on “Email Us Your FAFSA Question!” on the right side of this page. You can also contact your high school counselor or the financial aid office at your college to discuss your situation.

Completing the FAFSA is an important step toward funding your education after high school. Be sure to complete the application as soon as possible after Oct. 1!

FAFSA on the Go

The Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) has started making improvements to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), creating a more mobile and user friendly application process. They have already begun implementing some of the new mobile friendly features, which were released on July 22. This updated application has a redesigned look, better display on phones, laptops and tablets and has an easy to follow question flow. They have also replaced the “Help and Hints” feature with new “tool tips” to help guide you through the various steps of the application.

A beta version of the mobile app will be released later this summer, with the complete version of the app slated to launch on October 1. This will allow you to access your myStudentAid account through a mobile app, rather than through your internet browser. The myStudentAid mobile app will let you complete the FAFSA, make student loan payments and accomplish other financial aid tasks, like tracking your loan spending, all from the palm of your hand. Below is an example of what you can expect to see when you login to the mobile app.

fafsa mobile app screenshots