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Financial Aid

Financial Aid Night Presentation

John F. Kennedy's 2019-2020 Financial Aid Night was Thursday, October 3, at 7:00 PM in the Round Room.  Slides from that evening will be posted here as soon as they are available.

Cash for College Night will be held on Thursday, November 14, at 6:00 PM in the JFK Library.  Slides from that evening will be posted here as soon as they are available.

Most Financial Aid starts with the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) or the CADAA (California Dream Act Application).  

FAFSA:  The federal government uses this online application to determine your eligibility for financial aid, which includes; grants, work-study, and loans.  That information is shared with the colleges you've indicated on your FAFSA and it is sent to CSAC (California Student Aid Commission) to aid in deciding whether you qualify for a Cal Grant.  The FAFSA is for U.S. Citizens, Permanent Residents, and eligible non-citizens.  If the student is a citizen and the parent is not, the student can still complete the FAFSA.  The filing period opens October 1.  Here is a generalized overview of the FAFSA application process.

  1. Each student and one parent will need to create an FSA ID.  (Federal Student Aid Identification)  This is your electronic signature for your FAFSA*. 
  2. Have everything you will need in front of you when you sit down to complete the application.  There is a link to the IRS embedded in the application.  It is recommended that you use the link.  You will need:  
  • Your Social Security number and birth date
  • Your parent's Social Security number and birth date
  • If parent's are divorced, the date of the divorce.
  • Federal Income Tax return, W-2's for parents and student
  • Bank Statements for checking and savings
  • Information on untaxed income such as child support
  • List of schools to which you plan on applying
  1. As soon as you submit your FAFSA you should see an estimated award amount and EFC (Expected Family Contribution).
  2. Allow 1 - 2 weeks for them to process and forward your financial information to the California Student Aid Commission, where they will determine if you are eligible for a Cal Grant.

*If the student is a citizen and the parent is not, the student can still complete the FAFSA.  There will be some different steps that need to be taken.  See Mrs. May for details.

CALIFORNIA DREAM ACT APPLICATION:  The California Dream Act allows eligible non-citizens to apply for financial aid from the state of California.  If you are not sure if you should complete the Dream Act Application or the FAFSA, start with the Dream Act.  Answer the initial screening questions and you will find out which is the correct application for you.  If you are eligible you may qualify for a Cal Grant.

CAL GRANTS: Cal Grant awards are state funded monetary grants given to students to help pay for college expenses. They are based on both financial need and student GPA.  The awards do not have to be paid back.  FUSD electronically sends GPA verifications for all 12th grade students in the district to the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC).   The Federal government sends CSAC the financial information for all who have filed their FAFSA.  As long as the family has filed their FAFSA OR California Dream Act Application, there is nothing else they need to do to be considered for a Cal Grant.   

All graduating students need to create a WebGrants 4 Students account approximately 2 weeks after filing the FAFSA or Dream Act.  This will enable them to see if they have been awarded a Cal Grant, to see the amount of the award, to identify the correct college/university that they will be attending, and to notify CSAC that they have graduated.  STUDENTS MUST VERIFY THEIR DATE OF GRADUATION BY AUGUST 31, or they forfeit their Cal Grant.  

Your prospective college will try to meet your financial need through federal, state, school and private sources, as well as loans, and student employment. 

THE STUDENT AID REPORT, AWARD PACKAGES,  AND FUNDS DISBURSEMENT

You've submitted your FAFSA. After determining the federal aid you're eligible to receive, the center sends the results in the form of a Student Aid Report (SAR) to you and to the financial aid offices of the university campuses you've listed on your FAFSA form.  

Look at your Student Aid Report to check for errors and to make corrections. If something's not correct, was left out, or has changed since you filed the form, make the corrections as instructed on the SAR. Check that the college you plan to attend is listed under the school list section. If not, you need to add this college as a correction to your SAR. If everything checks out okay on your SAR, you just need to wait patiently for the financial aid office of your college to contact you.

If you receive a request from a college for further information or documentation, respond right away.

FINALLY...THE AWARD PACKAGE

Using your SAR, the financial aid office personnel will assess your case and then they will create a financial aid package for you. A package is what the financial aid office calls the combined financial aid programs and services you're eligible to receive for that year. It's determined on the basis of your financial need and the available programs and the amount of funds available in those programs.

For example, a student's financial aid package could be a Pell Grant, a Cal Grant, and a Stafford Loan option, while another student's package could be just a Stafford Loan option because that's all s/he qualifies for.

CHECK FOR GRANTS AND SCHOLARSHIPS  

This money doesn't have to be repaid, so you want to see a healthy portion of grants and scholarships in a financial aid award.

LOOK FOR THE COST OF ATTENDANCE

What is the school's sticker price? Sometime financial aid awards don't include what is officially called the cost of attendance. The cost of attendance includes such things as tuition, room/board, travel, textbooks and fees for such things as health services, labs and student life. Ideally, the costs will be itemized on your financial aid letter.
The cost is one of the critical things that you need to know to determine if you want to accept the financial aid package. As strange as this may sound, some schools don't include the cost of attendance in their letters.  Other institutions may low ball the cost by leaving out some expenses.

WATCH FOR LOANS

One way that schools make their packages look more attractive is to include loans. They are not necessarily a bad choice, especially if they are Federal loans, as they tend to have lower rates.

LOOK FOR YOUR EXPECTED CONTRIBUTION

You won't know if your award is a generous one unless the letter includes the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). These contribution figures will be based on the calculations that are generated when a family files the FAFSA. There should be a line stating what a school expects the child to contribute (it will be minimal) and what the parent(s) must contribute.
Without knowing what these numbers are, you can't adequately assess the offer. For instance, let's suppose that the combined expected contribution of the parents and child is $20,000 and the school costs $55,000. If the school only provides grants totaling $7,000, the family would face a $28,000 gap between the Expected Family Contribution and the total cost of attendance after deducting the $7,000 grant.

BOTTOM LINE

Make sure to carefully examine all financial aid awards. If you don't understand something in the award offer, contact the school.

ACCEPTANCE AND COMPLETION

Now that you have received your Financial Aid Award Notice, you will then accept or decline the awards you have been offered. If you have been offered a Federal Student Loan, you may need to complete additional steps to receive the funds.

RECEIVING FUNDS

The financial aid office will notify you of the disbursement schedule. Disbursement is usually handled by the campus' bursar's office. Your tuition is usually automatically deducted from the check amount. If your award amount includes money meant for housing, books, supplies, etc., the electronic funds transfer or check will be made out for the balance of your total award amount. Budgeting and money management is up to you, but there may be services or workshops offered at the campus that can help those that need it.

SCHOLARSHIPS

Scholarships are independent of FAFSA and Cal Grant.  Students can apply for scholarships throughout the school year.  New scholarships are posted on Naviance as soon as Mrs. May receives notification of them.  Besides the scholarship list and the SallieMae link in Naviance, additional sites for scholarship research are fastweb, GoodCall, bigfuture.collegeboard.org, scholarships.com. goingmerry.com and many more.  It is impossible to list them all, just be careful where you explore.  REMEMBER:  You should never have to pay money to get scholarship information.