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What is Verification?

Once you have confirmed acceptance to the college you plan to attend, the Financial Aid office may select the information you submitted on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for verificationVerification is the process your college uses to confirm that the data reported on the FAFSA is correct.

Approximately 33% of applications submitted will be selected for verification. This can occur randomly or may be triggered by red flags. Examples of red flags are: not filing a tax return, but reporting income that is above the IRS threshold, reporting no money but accruing interest and missing or inconsistent information.

Using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool will lessen your chances of being selected for verification.  Selection doesn’t mean you have done anything wrong, but you should send the information as soon as requested.   Not doing so can delay your award and your ability to register for classes.

An asterisk (*) by the Expected Family Contribution amount on the Student Aid Report means selection for verification.  Also, be sure to check your emails for the requested information and confirm the deadline for submission.

 

 

 

 

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What Is An Award Letter?

An award letter is a summary of sources of aid available from a college to help a student finance their education.  The information in the letter is based on financial information submitted on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).  The FAFSA helps determine your EFC (Expected Family Contribution).  Once accepted to a college, the financial aid office will send you a letter detailing the total cost of attendance(COA), federal and state grants, institutional scholarships and loans. Continue reading

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Looking for Scholarships? “Shop” Local

 

Charity begins at home.  You should begin your search for scholarships by researching what is available in your local area-your high school guidance office, church, business community, parent’s employment, union affiliation, and service clubs like the Rotary.  Also, take a look at what is available in your region, state, and nation.  There is so much information on the internet about scholarships, so many places to look that for some, it may be too overwhelming.  To be effective at this game, you must have a strategy and a plan.   Jan, one of my clients, received many local scholarships last year because of her volunteer hours with local Veterans. She received over $15,000 in scholarships of which the majority came from local organizations.  In earlier posts I have discussed the importance of beginning your search for scholarships in your freshman year.  The same scholarships are available year after year.  In researching on the internet all you need to do is click and save scholarships you think are a good match.  Furthermore, if you research scholarships on www.jlvcollegecounseling.com, you can take advantage of scholarships that are available to high school freshmen.  The earlier you can begin your search the better.

Look for scholarships in the following target areas:

  • Organizational membership
  • Race, ethnicity
  • Religious Affiliation
  • Learning or physical disability
  • Community Service
  • Health Related
  • Institutional scholarships at colleges
  • Talent
  • Academic Merit

 

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Completed the FAFSA, What’s Next?

 

 

So, you have completed the FAFSA and hit the submit button, now what?  The first thing you should do is read and print the confirmation email.  This confirmation email is an important document because it will confirm if you are eligible for the Pell Grant, list the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and loan eligibility.  First time students need to understand that the loan amount of $5500 is included in most award letters and is an optional loan that will be taken out in their name if they choose to do so.  Parents may also be offered the Parent Plus loan. Continue reading

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Private vs Public Colleges

Do you know the key differences between public and private institutions?  One of the main differences is cost.  You should familiarize yourself with the costs of public and private institutions in your state.   Private institutions are generally more expensive than public but have the ability to offer good financial aid packages.  Private colleges have access to large endowments.   As was mentioned in a earlier post, David applied to USC as a reach college.  They made it obvious they wanted him on their campus by their financial offerings.  I tell students not to let the cost of an institution deter them from applying.   If a school is really interested in you, the money will follow. Continue reading

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State and Regional College Tuition Discounts

As a followup to my earlier post Are In-State Schools Cheaper?, I am providing a listing of  state and regional programs that offer in-state tuition.  The information is courtesy of  the National Association of Financial Aid Administrators. Continue reading

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Are In-State Schools Cheaper?

 

There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding on whether you should attend college in-state or out-of-state.  The major factors are cost of attendance, your talents and what you bring to the table academically. Some students want to attend their state school because they feel it is cheaper.  Generally speaking, it is. But, attending an in-state school may not necessarily get you the best scholarship offers or tuition discounts.

 

There are colleges that will give you in-state tuition for your academic merit or talent which may be cheaper than your in-state.  Schools like Indiana State, University of Missouri, Columbia, Texas A & M, University of Arkansas, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Western Michigan, and Ball State are all known for giving in-state tuition to out-of-state students.  I feel you should not attend an out-of-state school unless you are getting some type of monetary return.  You may be worth more money out-of-state attending a public or private institution. Continue reading

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