here you are, right in the middle of the academic year. How are things going so
far? Do you have enough financial aid to pay for your spring semester in
fall semester can often reveal expenses you didn’t anticipate when you accepted
your financial aid offer at the beginning of the school year. If your budget’s
being stretched to the limit, remember to explore opportunities for
scholarships. Believe it or not, new scholarships can pop up in the spring semester,
too! Here are some places to look:
financial aid office. There may be new scholarships available, or
there may be some funds left over from a scholarship given to a student who
didn’t return for the spring semester. If you’re a high school student, check
in with your counselor and take advantage of the resources he/she has to offer.
college’s website. Institutional scholarships are often
available at various times throughout the year. It’s a good idea to check the
scholarship listings on your school’s website every week, or at least every two
the possibilities! Where do you start? Here are a few suggestions:
- UCanGo2.org/Scholarships –
Learn about the Scholarship of the Week, then search by month and scroll down to
make sure you don’t miss any application deadlines. You’ll also find a table
full of additional scholarship opportunities for each month.
- Search for brand names of restaurants, chain
stores and food producers. Search the websites of health care systems and
various law firms. Your search engine could become your best friend.
list of additional scholarship websites, see UCanGo2’s publication called Are
You Looking for Money?
After you’ve submitted your FAFSA (Free Application for
Federal Student Aid), it’s possible that your application could be flagged for
verification. Verification is the process a financial aid office must complete
to determine the accuracy of the information on your application. If your FAFSA
is selected for verification, the financial aid office from the school(s)
listed on your FAFSA may ask you to provide documentation about the addresses,
names or financial data you provided. The aid officer will let you know which
sections must be corrected and the documentation you’ll be required to provide
to verify your information.
Being selected for verification doesn’t mean your FAFSA is incorrect.
Annually about 30% of all FAFSA applications are chosen for this process and the
financial aid office is required to verify your data. Monitor your email for
requests for additional information and swiftly respond to those requests. Your
eligibility for financial aid will not be reviewed until the verification
process is complete. Follow up with the financial aid office to check on your
application status because the more you cooperate with them, the faster the
process will go. Verification is the last official step they’ll need to complete
to provide you with a financial aid offer. The offer will list the amount and
types of financial aid programs you may use to help cover your college
The new year often comes with fresh enthusiasm for a renewed
lifestyle. Whether it’s working out regularly, eating out less or resisting the
snooze button, there is no time like the present to commit to new habits.
In addition to health and financial goals, there are some
helpful academic goals that will prove beneficial from this school year to the
completing the Free Application
for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you’re considered for a variety of state
and federal financial aid. We encourage you to “start” with FAFSA, and then
continue seeking scholarship opportunities throughout the year. Check out UCanGo2.org for new
scholarships by category and by deadline. Make a profile on OKcollegestart.org
to view scholarship applications that are the perfect fit for you. It’s
important to apply for as many scholarships as possible year-round, so make a
habit of applying for 2-3 scholarships a week.
Study Habits: While
your grades and GPA are not taken into consideration with your FAFSA, schools
will look at your academic achievements when deciding academic scholarship
offers as well as acceptance to their school. Your grades in college will also
determine if you maintain certain scholarship offers from year to year. To
start or keep up good study habits, check out these study tips: https://ucango2.org/publications/student/Perfect_10.pdf
Extracurricular Involvement: Many schools take more than just your
grades into consideration. Join a club or volunteer in your community after
school hours. Your involvement will look impressive on a college application.
Are you already in college? Join a club or find opportunities in your community
to share the skills and knowledge that you’re developing. It looks great on
resumes for future employers. Whether you’re still in high school or you’re
headed into the career field, extracurricular involvement is a good commitment
to make in the new year.
you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), be on the
lookout for your Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR is an electronic or paper
document that summarizes the data you put on your FAFSA. It also provides some
basic information about your eligibility for federal student financial aid. If
you completed, signed and submitted your FAFSA electronically, this document
will be sent to your email address within 3-5 days. If you did not include an
email address, a paper version of the SAR will be mailed to your postal address
in approximately 2-3 weeks. You can also access your SAR by logging in to your
account at FAFSA.gov.
SAR contains important information, like your Expected Family Contribution
(EFC) and your Data Release Number (DRN). The EFC is a measure of your family’s
financial strength and is calculated according to a formula established by law.
It’s based on the information provided on the FAFSA, but the EFC is NOT the amount
of money your family will have to pay for college. It’s a number used by your
school to calculate the amount of federal student aid you’re
eligible to receive.
DRN is located below your EFC on the SAR and is necessary if you want your
college or career school to change certain types of information on your FAFSA.
Speak with someone at your college financial aid office if there has been a
significant change in income for you or your parents or you have a special
circumstance you need to discuss with the aid administrator.
SAR might indicate that you’ve been selected for verification. This is a
process schools use to confirm the information on your FAFSA is correct. Your
college financial aid office will notify you if additional paperwork is needed
to fulfill this requirement.
the remainder of your SAR for any errors. If you find anything that should be
corrected, log back in to FAFSA.gov, access your
FAFSA, and make the necessary changes. Then enter the appropriate FSA IDs and
submit your FAFSA again.
The Free Application for
Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is a form you submit to determine your
eligibility to receive financial aid. This form asks various questions on information
you probably haven’t thought about before. Since these questions may be uncommon
to you and your family, it’s easy to make a mistake when completing the application.
If you need to make corrections to the FAFSA after you’ve submitted it, there
are a few ways you can fix the errors.
- Log back in – If you need to correct some information on your FAFSA, such as change your high school’s name or add more colleges to the application, you can simply log back into the FAFSA form. To do this, you’ll need your FSA ID. When you log in, you’ll see a box that shows information about your application status, along with your next steps in the FAFSA process. Under this box is a section that says, “You can also”. In that section, find the link to “Make FAFSA Corrections”. Click on the link to access your application. After you’ve made the necessary changes, submit the application again with the correct information. Don’t forget to sign the FAFSA again with your FSA ID!
- Update your SAR – When you first submit your FAFSA, it generates a Student Aid Report or SAR. This report shows all the information you entered on your application. If you need to change your name or Social Security number, you can make those adjustments by printing out your SAR and correcting the errors. Unfortunately, the application doesn’t allow you to update this information on the electronic version. You can find and print your SAR in the “You can also” section of FAFSA.gov, after you’ve logged in with your FSA ID. Once you’ve printed out the report and made your changes, mail the corrected SAR to the address stated on the form. Additionally, if you need to change your name due to marriage, divorce, etc., you must first make those changes with the Social Security Administration (SSA). When SSA has corrected your information, you can then update your FSA ID, as well as the FAFSA form, with the right data.
- Speak with financial aid – For small changes such as updating your email or mailing address, you can use the previous two methods. However, if you need to correct financial information on the FAFSA, especially if you used the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you may have to submit corrections through the financial aid office at your anticipated school. Students who manually entered their financial information on the FAFSA can log back into FAFSA.gov and make changes. Those who used the IRS Data Retrieval tool to complete the income portion must speak with their financial aid office to fix any errors. Talk to the office about the errors that were made and learn how you can correct the mistakes. The financial aid office may want extra documentation, so be sure to give them all the required information. You can make changes to your name or Social Security number through the financial aid office as well.
Submitting the FAFSA with
the right information is important. If you need to make changes, don’t wait.
Adjust your answers as soon as you learn a mistake was made. Using any of these
methods will help you successfully make changes. For more information on how to
submit FAFSA corrections, go to studentaid.ed.gov.
Family Contribution (EFC) is a number that’s used to help determine your
eligibility for financial aid for college. Each school that you selected to
share your information with on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid
(FAFSA) will use the EFC to determine how much aid you may receive at their
individual institution. Your EFC is calculated through a formula that uses your
family’s taxed and untaxed income, assets and benefits. The size of your family,
the number of family members who will attend college during the academic year
and the age of your older parent will also influence your EFC.
Financial aid administrators will
subtract the EFC from the student’s cost of attendance to determine their need for
the following federal student aid programs:
- Federal Pell Grants
- Federal Subsidized Student Loans
- Federal Supplemental Educational
- Federal Work-Study
Other federal and state scholarship
programs will also use the EFC to determine your eligibility for additional
aid. For a detailed guide on exactly how an EFC is calculated, you can check
out The EFC Formula.
It’s important to know that your EFC
is not the guaranteed amount of money you or your family will be required to
contribute to your cost of attendance. It’s only a number used by your school
to calculated your financial aid eligibility.
The EFC is a very influential
calculation, so it’s important to complete your FAFSA sooner than later. You
can find the FAFSA online at FAFSA.gov.
Thanksgiving is a time to practice gratitude.
Here are some ways we can remain thankful during FAFSA (Free Application for Federal
Student Aid) and college application season.
1. Celebrate the fact that the FAFSA is a free resource for financial aid. The FAFSA serves as your
application for federal and some state financial aid for college. Whether you
receive grants, scholarships, student loans or work study, all of these will
help get you one step closer to your future goals.
2. Be grateful that you created your FSA ID (Federal Student Aid ID) before starting your FAFSA application,
and kept it safe on your handy FSA
ID Worksheet! The FSA ID is a username and password that you and one of
your parents create to sign the FAFSA electronically. This short task can save you time, as
submitting and signing your FAFSA online will speed up the processing period
for your application. Save your FSA ID worksheet so when you complete the FAFSA
next year you won’t have to struggle to remember your ID; you’ll only have to
reference your FSA ID worksheet for the information.
3. Remember to show your educators how much you appreciate
them. Is there an administrator, teacher or counselor who’s been especially
supportive as you plan for college? It’s easy to get caught up in the essays,
application requirements and test scores, and educators can encourage us to
persevere and answer our endless questions. Educators are an essential resource
when it comes to choosing the school you want to attend.
4. Having trouble picking your top schools? The FAFSA allows you to apply for financial
aid at up to 10 different schools. Ask your teacher or counselor to help
you find the best-fit colleges, universities or technology centers. After you’ve
narrowed down your choices and determined which schools are a good match, take
the time to thank your teacher or counselor for everything they’ve done to help
make your education journey successful.
5. Finally, be proud of your own perseverance. Once you’ve followed
the tips in Finish
the FAFSA in Five Steps and submitted your application, you can be grateful
that it’s done! (Until next year, that is.)
Once you hit the ‘Submit’ button after completing your FAFSA
(Free Application for Federal Student Aid), you’ll receive a confirmation page.
The confirmation means your FAFSA has been received by the Federal Student Aid
(FSA) Processing Center and they’ll begin to review your application. A few
days after that you’ll be notified that your FAFSA results have been sent to
the colleges you entered on your application. You’ll also be able to review
your Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR lists the information you entered on
your FAFSA and allows you to determine if any changes should be made. Follow
the directions provided to retrieve your SAR and read the report carefully. The
first page will contain valuable information about the next steps you should
If you find any errors on your SAR, go to FAFSA.gov, access
your online FAFSA application and make the necessary corrections. If you’re
changing one of your (student)answers, click ‘I am the student’ once
you’ve logged in and enter your FSA ID and Save Key. If your parent(s) are
updating one of their answers, they should click ‘I am a parent.’ They will log
in using your personal identifying information along with the same Save Key.
Don’t let anyone else log in with your FSA ID!
Please note: If
any changes need to be made to the income figures provided on the FAFSA by you
or your parent(s), it’s possible that your college financial aid office may have
to make the changes for you. Students and parents who utilize the IRS DRT
(Internal Revenue Service Data Retrieval Tool) can download their income
figures from the IRS directly into their FAFSA, which can save you time and
additional paperwork. To keep your information secure, however, once figures
are downloaded you are unable to see them. Only your financial aid office will
be able to view the results, and only they can make any necessary corrections. If
changes do need to be made, you must provide your aid officer with the Data
Release Number (DRN) which appears at the top of the SAR. Remember, never give
your FSA ID to anyone in the financial aid office.
The colleges you included on your FAFSA will receive the
results of your application from FSA directly. They will then begin working on
a financial aid ‘package’ for you by determining your eligibility for funds
from various federal, state and institutional resources. A financial aid offer
will be sent to you through the mail or via email. You’ll be given a deadline
to respond to the offer, letting the school know if you’ll accept or decline a part
or all of the aid they’ve awarded. Remember, you don’t have to accept
You may not receive an offer from every school listed on
your FAFSA. Some universities may wait to provide a financial aid offer until
you’ve been admitted to their school. If you don’t receive a response from one
of your schools, contact their financial aid office to ensure they’ve received
your FAFSA results.
From that point on, follow the directions given to you by
the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend. They’ll be your best
resource for any questions you may have about the financial aid process.
The busiest time of the year is just around the corner.
Before the hustle and bustle of the holiday season begins, take time to submit
your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The 2020-2021 FAFSA
opened on October 1, which means many students have already had the chance to
successfully submit their application. Now is the time to successfully submit
yours! This application allows the financial aid office at your chosen college
to determine your eligibility to receive many types of financial aid. While
some aid does not run out, other types are awarded on a first-come, first-served
basis. If you submit your FAFSA too late, you may miss out on important
funding. There are a few other significant reasons to submit your FAFSA now:
- More and more colleges and universities are
setting early enrollment and institutional scholarship deadlines in November
and December. During the application process, they’ll want to know if you’ve
submitted your FAFSA.
- It’s not uncommon
for a scholarship committee to ask for a copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR),
which you receive after you submit the FAFSA. Completing your FAFSA early
ensures that you won’t miss important deadlines.
- Submit the FAFSA now so you have one less
thing on your to-do list for college next fall. It’s better to complete the
FAFSA now so you can focus on other college planning tasks in the spring.
- Since you’ll need to submit the FAFSA
each year you’re in college, completing your application now allows you to
become familiar with the FAFSA form for next year. If you’re in high school,
take this time to ask questions about the application process with your parents
and school counselor so that you’ll know what to expect next fall.
Don’t wait any longer! Complete your FAFSA as
soon as possible.
It’s National Scholarship Month! That means we’re raising
awareness about the numerous scholarship dollars that are available to help you
cover college expenses. For the 2016-2017 school year, the National Scholarship Providers
Association awarded over $2 billion in scholarship funds to deserving
students. That’s just one organization! There are many other companies that
offer scholarships to students preparing for college. To help you put your best
foot forward, here are a few tips to help you submit excellent scholarship
- Follow directions. It’s
important to read all scholarship instructions carefully before starting the
application. If there is a word count to abide by, be sure to meet the
requirements. Also, submit all necessary documents. Ask for letters of
recommendation, copies of your transcript and other documentation weeks before
the scholarship deadline.
- Be creative.
Think outside the box on
scholarship questions. Be creative and original when writing your essay
responses. If you’re asked why you deserve the scholarship, explain why it’s
important for you to go to college. Talk about your academic and career goals,
as well as the challenges you’ve overcome to reach those goals. Also, tell a
story only you can tell. Discuss your involvement with a school organization or
a part-time job and describe the skills you’ve gained from those opportunities.
Remember that with every experience you’ve encountered, you’ve learned
something. Use those learned lessons to fuel your essay responses.
your work. Completing a scholarship application can feel very rewarding;
however, it’s only the first step. Proofreading is the next crucial stage in
this process. Read your scholarship essay aloud to see if you need to make any
adjustments. Also, ask a non-relative, such as a teacher or counselor, to read
your essay – and be open to the constructive criticism they give you.
- Find options
that reflect your interests. Applying for scholarships can seem
like a lot of work. Yet, if you find scholarships that are interesting to you,
the application process can be enjoyable. Search for opportunities that align
with your passions. Then writing essays and creating scholarship videos will be
fun and exciting, instead of time consuming and tedious.
- Never give up! Don’t get
discouraged when you don’t receive a scholarship award; just keep applying.
Your persistence will win out in the end. Keep searching for unique
scholarships. Ask local businesses about scholarship opportunities, as well as
your current education institution. The goal of scholarships is to assist you
with covering the costs of college. The more scholarships you apply for, the
more likely you are to gain that extra assistance. To learn more about
scholarships or to search for interesting opportunities, check out our Scholarship
Success Guide or go to UCanGo2.org and OKcollegestart.org.