Financial Aid –
Free Money for College!
Applying for college financial aid is a fairly easy process: just complete the Cal Grant form and the FAFSA before the deadline! The deadline depends on what type of college you will attend. The deadline for 4-year colleges is March 2nd, and the deadline for community colleges is September 2nd. You should submit your financial aid forms as soon as possible even for community colleges, however, because some colleges run out of certain types of aid if you wait until the deadline. You can submit a Cal Grant form beginning in December of your Senior year, and you can submit a FAFSA beginning in January of your Senior year.
If you’re anxious to get started early, or if you’re not a senior yet, then use MyFSA ("FSA" stands for Federal Student Aid) to start planning! They also offer other useful services, like college exploration, career exploration, and scholarship searches.
Cal Grant Directions: You only need to complete your name, birth date, and social security number on the Cal Grant form, and then give your form to Mr. Abarr. He will submit your Cal Grant form for you through the Internet. Open the file below, "2011-2012 Cal Grant Form."
***IMPORTANT FAFSA REMINDERS***
Since you’ll be in college next year, you need to do the 2011-12 FAFSA. Do NOT do the 2010-11 FAFSA—that is for students in college right now!
Never use fafsa.com—they will charge you $80!
Use FAFSA.GOV—that is the correct site.
FAFSA Directions: The FAFSA is fairly long—it may take a couple of hours to complete. It is helpful to have copies of your pay stubs and tax forms before working on the FAFSA. There are 2 main sections, one for you, and one for your parents. Sometime in late December, you can print up a 2011-2012 FAFSA on the Web worksheet with all the questions at www.fafsa.gov. The FAFSA worksheet is available in both English and Spanish. It is normal to skip some of the questions in the FAFSA. If you or your parents don't understand some of the questions, then they probably don’t apply to you.
When you are finished working through the FAFSA sections for yourself and your parents, you can submit your answers at www.fafsa.gov. Submitting online is a good idea, because the website can check your answers and help you avoid delays or problems.
FinAid! is a good financial aid web site with clear explanations and a video explaining the FAFSA.