One of the most often asked questions by students and parents in "How do we get scholarship money to pay for college?"
While there are many programs to assist in paying for college, students and parents should be aware of what they can do to take advantage of these programs.
Grades 9 & 10
Students must take their academic responsibilities seriously. Every high school course counts toward their CPA (Cumulative Percent Average) and Class Rank, and colleges/scholarships will look at the rigor of the coursework a student has pursued. This merit-based scholarship money is also awarded based upon a student's extra-curricular and service record throughout high school, so students are encouraged to make a meaningful contribution to our school and community within and beyond the classroom.
Students should be continuing their academic extra-curricular pursuits, as well as taking advantage of the greater opportunity to lead and serve.
There are a few scholarships that are designated for high school juniors. RHS students should keep checking on the RHS bulletin (powerschool) and in the scholarship postings on the guidance web site. Since most scholarships are open to seniors, juniors should keep checking the scholarship listings to be aware of awards they might apply for next year.
Seniors should check the RHS bulletin (powerschool) and guidance web site regularly to monitor the scholarships available throughout their senior year. Private scholarships vary greatly in their monetary value, criteria, due dates, and the application process. A helpful tool is to create a scholarship/college application calendar with separate folders for each application.
(Free Application For Federal Student Aid)
Seniors and their parents should also submit a FAFSA to apply for federal and state need-based programs. The FAFSA will use family information (there is one part for the student and a separate part for parents) to determine the level of need for each student. This level of need-called the EFC, or Expected Family Contribution-then triggers the awarding of grants (free government money) and/or loans (money you must pay back, of course!).
Loan borrowers (students and/or parents) must also complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN). Visit studentloans.gov to complete an online MPN. Only borrow what you absolutely need.
What you must do...
Step 1 (Prior to October 1)
Create your FSA ID
Complete the FAFSA, which can be found at https://fafsa.gov/ Please note that this is a government web site, and the submission is FREE! There are other sites that will attempt to charge you to submit an otherwise free application. The FAFSA will require financial information for the entire year preceding the year you start college, so you must wait until January to start your application.
Check the FAFSA web site for deadlines, but we suggest you submit by March 1st!
Private vs. Institutional Scholarships
One other distinction students and parents should be aware of is the difference between private and institutional scholarships. Private scholarships come from a variety of sources: civic groups, employers, local businesses, memorial funds/trusts, ect. These can be found through the guidance web site and through a family's connection within the community.
Institutional scholarships are offered by individual colleges to applicants from their own endowments. These institutional scholarships typically do not require an application beyond the college's admission application, and they can usually be found through the web site or admissions office of the prospective college or university.
Are you concerned about borrowing to pay for college?
Click "Get Started" at MySmartBorrowing.org and learn how to keep your student loan debt manageable.
FINANCIAL AID REMINDERS
- Students and at least one of their parents must secure a Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) to use as an electronic signature when completing the FAFSA online. It is best to obtain the FSA ID before accessing the FAFSA for completion. This service is provided at the following website: http://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm
- Students should be encouraged to file the FAFSA electronically. It speeds up turnaround time, helps eliminate errors, and allows students to connect directly with the Pennsylvania State Grant Form online. Students should look for this link on the FAFSA confirmation page. It reads: "Optional Feature - Start your state application - Click here if you want to apply for Pennsylvania state-based financial aid."
- Students should also go to pheaa.org and create a record for themselves in Account Access. This will allow them to complete the State Grant Form if the direct link from the FAFSA form on the Web was missed, and to view important information concerning their awards. They should also add "[email protected]," "[email protected]," and "[email protected]" to their email address book so that they do not miss any important electronic communications.
STUDENT INFORMATION ACCESS
PHEAA provides a number of different avenues for students and their families to use if questions arise concerning the FAFSA application process, how to apply for grants, student employment, guidance on career planning, and other important issues. They may call 1-800-692-7392 and a representative will personally assist them. Information is also available at a number of websites, including pheaa.org, educationplanner.org, and MySmartBorrowing.org. For the latest financial aid information, we encourage students to join us on Facebook, at facebook.com/pheaa.aid.
FAFSA COMPLETION NIGHTS - CONTACT FINANCIAL AID OFFICE AT YOUR COLLEGE
The Mount Aloysius Financial Aid Office will hold two sessions to assist families in completing/filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you are uneasy about how to complete the FAFSA online, please plan to attend. A representative from PHEAA will be on hand to answer questions, as well.
Bring the following information (both Parent & Student):
- Completed Federal Tax forms & W-2's
- Documentation regarding taxed and untaxed income
- Current balance of cash, savings, and checking accounts
- Net worth of your investments and business/farm value