Financial Aid and Scholarships
Financial aid is intended to make up the difference between what your family can afford to pay and what college actually costs. Over half the students currently enrolled in college receive some sort of aid. Students can start filling out the FAFSA after October 1st of their senior year. Some colleges will also require a CSS Profile. Check the financial aid office at each college to see what they require. We host several financial aid workshops in the fall. Be sure to read the Counselor Connection for dates and registration information.
EFC=Expected Family Contribution
This term refers to the amount your family is expected to contribute. There is a formula the federal government uses to determine this number. It is based on many factors including family income, family size, and assets. Financial aid can look differently for each student. Components of financial aid are scholarships, grants, loans and work study.
Don’t Rule Out Colleges with Higher Price Tags
Suppose that your EFC is $5,000 a year. At a college that costs $15,000 annually, you could be eligible for up to $10,000 in financial aid. This could be a scholarship, grant, or a loan. At a college that costs $25,000 annually, you could be eligible for up to $20,000 in aid. In other words, your family would be expected to contribute the same amount at both colleges. Please note that not all colleges will meet your “need” and you could be expected to take out loans. Look at the net price calculators for each college which is found on the college website. This will help you estimate affordability. Spend some time researching this feature – it will make all the difference in selecting the most affordable colleges!
If you would like to estimate your Expected Family Contribution, visit the FAFSA Forecaster at www.fafsa.gov. Most colleges also have comprehensive financial aid tools with scholarships and aid information.
Most financial aid is offered when financial need is proven. When you fill out the college applications, be sure to indicate you are applying for financial aid. Some apps have a separate form to fill out; others just have a box to check.
Begin to inquire at banks and loan institutions NOW. With many banks, your parents have to have had an account with them for at least one year before being considered for a college loan. (Not all loans are personal loans from banks. The best loans typically come from the federal government and require filling out the FAFSA.)
The best place for information is the source. Go to the specific college admission website for any school you are investigating. Colleges are used to thousands of information requests each year and are happy to help clarify your questions.
WBHS Tip: Use the net price calculator on each school’s website to determine your potential aid. This will help you determine the affordability of the college before you apply.
Explore these financial aid resources.
Federal Student Aid
View and download resources from the office of Federal Student Aid. Provides resources on preparing for college or career school, applying for aid, consumer protection, and more.
College Scorecard, US DoE
This site provides information about the affordability and value of different colleges and universities in the United States.
Paying for College
This tool from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau helps students compare financial aid and college costs.
The U.S Department of Education has a Net Price Calculator to compare costs between the specific schools to which students are applying.
FastWeb. This site provides free registration to search for scholarships and college. You can create an account as a student or an educator.
College Results. This site allows students and parents/guardians to export information to easily compare college costs and availability of grants and other types of financial assistance.
Looking for Student Aid… without getting scammed
This site provides a number of resources to download and share with students and their parents/guardians, including a printer-friendly copy of the information on this site.
Do You Need Money for College? Federal Student Aid at a Glance, Downloadable handout that provides the who, what, where, when, and how of federal financial aid. Also available in Spanish.
English-Spanish Glossary of Student Financial Aid and Postsecondary Education, NASFAA Glossary of financial aid and other postsecondary terms translated into Spanish.
NASFAA Regional Associations, NASFAA Listing of NASFAA regional associations and state associations.
Click on the links below to learn more!
1. Apply for Financial Aid after October 1st. www.FAFSA.gov
2. Check with each college in which you are applying for merit-based scholarships and deadlines.
3. Check for memorial and alumni scholarship opportunities at each college in which you may qualify.
4. Check with student’s/parent’s employer, banks/credit union, religious & civic affiliations, etc. for scholarships.
5. Follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/WBHSCounseling
6. Read the Counselor Connection newsletter sent out twice a month.
7. Check the College and Career Center Canvas pages for a HUGE list of scholarships that Mrs. Essig put together for you! Participate in Mrs. Essig's Scholarship Club!
9. Be sure to create an email address just for these searches as students will receive a lot of emails. There is no need to pay money for these services! Do not give your social security number when applying to scholarships. It is common that if you win a scholarship to need your SS# at that point. Watch for scams!
10. Check Careeronestop: https://www.careeronestop.org/toolkit/training/find-scholarships.aspx
11. Check out the Class of 2023, College Board Opportunity Scholarships. https://opportunity.collegeboard.org/
12. For more information: https://studentaid.gov/help-center/answers/article/how-to-find-scholarships
13. Remember it takes work to receive most scholarships! You won't know if you don't try!