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Financial Aid

Steps to Find and Apply for Help in Paying for College

 

 

 

1. FIRST STEP in your search for financial aid is your future college's financial aid office.  Get to know them and use this resource as your primary resource for scholarships and financial aid information.   Go to links to Colleges & Schools and then take the Financial Aid link at their individual website. 

FASFA Logo2. SECOND STEP in your search for financial aid is "The FAFSA-Free Application for Federal Student Aid" known as FAFSA.  All ZHS Seniors should apply for Financial Aid through FASFA at   http://www.fafsa.ed.gov

Check out the FASF4caster https://fafsa.ed.gov/FAFSA/app/f4cForm?execution=e1s1willhelp you get an early start on the financial aid process by providing you with an early estimate of your eligibility for federal student aid, giving you an experience similar to FAFSA on the Web, allowing you to transfer all of your FAFSA4caster data to FAFSA on the Web once you are ready to apply for aid, providing you the option to apply for your Federal Student Aid PIN and increasing your knowledge of the financial aid process, and providing information about other sources of aid.

Part of the process of filling out a FASFA form is to get a FSA ID. The FSA ID is a username and password combination that serves as a student’s or parent’s identifier to allow access to personal information in various U.S. Department of Education systems and acts as a digital signature on some online forms. Students, parents, and borrowers are required to use an FSA ID, made up of a username and password, to access certain U.S. Department of Education websites. Your FSA ID is used to confirm your identity when accessing your financial aid information and electronically signing your federal student aid documents. You apply at https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm

The FSA ID process consists of three main steps:

  • Enter your log-in information: Provide your e-mail address, a unique username, and password, and verify that you are at least 13 years old.
  • Enter your personal information: Provide your Social Security number, name, and date of birth. Include your mailing address, e-mail address, telephone number, and language preference.
  • For security purposes, provide answers to five challenge questions.

Then you

  • Submit your FSA ID information.
  • Agree to the terms and conditions.
  • Verify your e-mail address. (This is optional, but helpful. By verifying your e-mail address, you can use your e-mail address as your username when logging into certain ED websites. This verification also allows you to retrieve your username or reset your password without answering challenge questions.)


WASFA-If you are not FAFSA eligible due to citizenship you may be WASFA eligible.  Go to http://www.readysetgrad.org/wasfa 

 

3. THIRD STEP in your search for financial aid is to DON'T PAY FOR FINANCIAL AID INFORMATION OR HELP.

 "Learn about pitfalls and scams in Financial Aid"

Federal Trade Commission and National Fraud Information Center: Read the warning information to avoid being scammed. If you need advice about a telephone solicitation or you want to report a possible scam, call the NFIC hotline at 1-800-876-7060

1. Determine whether it is a company offering a search service or a foundation offering a scholarship.

2. Beware of scholarship sponsors who claim to guarantee you a scholarship or who require a large upfront fee. Most scholarship sponsors do not charge upfront fees of more than $5. No legitimate scholarship sponsor guarantees that you will win an award.

3. Understand that scholarship search engines (services) do not award scholarships. These companies charge a fee to compare your profile with a database of scholarship opportunities and provide a list of awards for which you may qualify. They do not provide awards directly to applicants, nor do they help you apply for the awards. The information provided by scholarship search services is available at no cost in your local public library or school financial aid office. Crooks charge high fees and provide little scholarship information. The scholarship lists they send students often contain outdated or inapplicable information. A reputable search service or book will usually yield over 50 possible scholarships.

4. Beware of search services that guarantee you will win a scholarship or a certain amount of financial aid. No search service can control the decisions of the scholarship sponsors.

5. Make sure you fully understand the refund policy. If the service promises your money back, read the fine print. Often you will find that you need letters of rejection from all the scholarship listings sent to you to collect. If one of the listings is no longer in existence, it is impossible for you to get a refund. The company may also include all types of financial aid in its guarantee. If they guarantee you $5000 in financial aid or your money back, and you don't get any scholarships through them but you do get a $5000 loan from a bank, you might be disqualified from getting a refund, even though the service had nothing to do with the loan.

6. Get the terms of service from the company in writing. Do not rely on verbal promises.

 

4. FOURTH STEP Use the ZHS Scholarship Resources Pages.

ZHS Scholarship Board: a special page listing month by month scholarships that Zillah High School Seniors may choose to apply for.  This is updated each month, so ZHS seniors should check back often. (Families with a current email address in Skyward will get a weekly update of scholarship opportunities as part of the ZHS Newsletter.

Read  "How to Win a Scholarship" to get tips on how to complete applications for scholarship awards.

 

5. FIFTH STEP in your search for financial aid is to use FREE scholarship search websites.

I recommend that ZHS students start here at The Washboard.Org: Washington Scholarship Coalition website.   They are a partnership of public and nonprofit agencies coming together to build an online scholarship marketplace and provide a trusted source of scholarships for Washington State seniors. The Washington Scholarship Coalition exists to create connections and ensure scholarship funds are reaching those in need. 


These next links may be explored if you have additional time.  While they are all currently listed as free, they may not uncover new sources of scholarships or other Financial Aid.

1079-Beyond Dreaming:  Resources for non citizen students in Washington State

"1079"  Student Scholarship List The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund provides this list of potential scholarships for students in the "HB 1079" classification (Scholarships  for students regardless of residency status).  For further information contact MALDEF at www.maldef.org , 634 South Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014 (213) 629-2512 Fax (213) 629-0830

American Indian College Fund: Search for special college funding programs for qualified American Indians.

College Board's The Big Future-Paying For College: From the folks who bring you the SAT and Advanced Placement services, information including a free search data base of scholarships.

Fastweb: for free scholarship and financial aid information.

Federal Student Aid: Financial Aid information from the US Department of Education and also their Finding Scholarships help page.

Fin-Aid: The Smart Guide to Financial Aid Billed as the "smart' students guide. 

Hispanic Scholarship Fund: Special opportunities for Hispanic students.

Northwest Educational Loan Association: Helping northwest families meet the costs of higher education with many different loan programs.  This includes their valuable resource "Paying For College" online and a Financial Aid Calculator.

Washington Financial Aid Association: WFAA is a professional, membership organization of individuals whose aim is to promote higher education through the availability, support and administration of student financial assistance programs. Watch this site for additional information and updates.

Washington Student Achievement Council: provides strategic planning, oversight, and advocacy to support increased student success and higher levels of educational attainment in Washington.