Ep. 26 FAFSA Series Pt. 2: EFC & CSS Profile


FAFSA Series Pt. 2: EFC & CSS #FAFSA #Financialaid


*Studentscholarship.org (new search engine)

Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship ProgramDeadline February 15, 2016


This episode is part two of the four part FAFSA Series: EFC & CSS.  The EFC is the acronym for Expected Family Contribution.  This is the minimum amount of money that colleges expect you (the parent or student) to pay toward college costs.  Colleges use a formula to calculate the EFC for every student that is seeking need-based financial aid. You submit your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) which contains details about your income and assets, colleges use that information to determine your EFC and if you qualify for need-based federal aid (and some state aid as well).

The CSS Profile is an additional form that some colleges require along with the FAFSA to determine if you qualify for institutional aid.  There are about 300 hundred colleges that require this form and consider themselves very selective.  This form goes into greater detail about family assets, extended family assets, student assets etc…

We provide concrete examples of how to calculate financial need as well.  That is result of taking the total cost of attendance (tuition, room & board, fees, expenses, travel), subtract your EFC (expected family contribution) and the sum is the students financial need.

$28,000 Total Cost of College A

$13, 500 is the EFC


$14, 500 is the students financial need

Most financial aid offices attempt to meet as much the students financial need (not your portion) as possible for those that they choose to admit into the school.  There is often a gap at this point. The gap is the balance of the financial need that remains UNMET.  The student would often consider taking out a student loan.  Oftentimes, part of the financial aid package would contain subsidized or unsubsidized parent or student loans.

We are suggesting you supplement or replace the gap with SCHOLARSHIPS.

LINK TO AMAZON Books on FAFSA and Financial Aid

Links mention in this episode:


CSS Profile

EFC Calculator

2016 Federal EFC Quick Reference Table


Related Episodes

Ep. 25 FAFSA Series Pt. 1: Getting Organized

Ep. 21 Financial Aid Myths & Tips

Ep. 9 Financial Aid 101


Ep. 25 FAFSA Series Pt. 1: Getting Organized #financialaid

FAFSA Series Part 1

Are you ready for the FAFSA?

It’s FAFSA SEASON! This is the first of a four-part series on everything you need to know about the FAFSA.  Part one of this series is to help you get started by getting organized. The FAFSA is the starting point and the gatekeeper to all of the federal and state aid and grant programs.  We will provide you with a checklist as well as information about what to do and know ahead of time.  Get Ready!

  1. Educate yourself about federal (and state) student aid programs. Do you know what your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is? Here is a calculator to find out.
  2. Understand that it is really your child that needs to complete the FAFSA.  Help them understand whether or not parents (one or both) information is needed to be included or not.  For example, is your child considered a dependent or independent student for FAFSA filing purposes?  If they answer YES to any of the following questions, they are considered INDEPENDENT.
    1. Are they 24+?
    2. Are they going to school for an advanced degree (Masters, Ph.D.)?
    3. Are they married?
    4. Do they have children of their own that they provide 1/2 the support for?
    5. Are they 13+ and parents deceased or have been in foster care?
    6. Are they on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces?
    7. Are they a veteran?
  3. Go to the FAFSA website (http://www.fafsa.ed.gov) to get a FSA ID.  You need to obtain one for yourself and the student must get one also.  The reasoning is so that both of you can view and edit the FAFSA application online.
  4. The documents that you should start to locate and gather are as follows:
    1. Social Security number or Alien registration number
    2. 2015 tax return (if you have not filed as of yet, you can use your 2014 AGI info)
    3. Bank statements (including investment accounts)
    4. Any additional information about untaxed income (business income, real estate investment income, unemployment etc…)
  5. Know the deadlines for your state for the FAFSA as well as state aid.  Here is a PDF to download and review for your state: Deadlines

LINK TO AMAZON Books on FAFSA and Financial Aid

Additional Resource Recommendations:

Getting IN by Standing OUT

Related episodes:

Ep. 9 Financial Aid 101

Ep. 21 Financial Aid Myths & Tips

Ep. 23 Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarship Program for High Achieving Students

Ep. 24 Review of Scholarship Search Websites

Review of Top ScholarshipSearch Website

Today’s episode is a continuation of our series on scholarships.  We review several of the top scholarship search websites for you to save you time and aggravation. Your welcome.

We cover a total of six of the major scholarship search websites that are more well-known.  This is not an exhaustive list but a condensed list in which we talk honestly about how to navigate each site as well as the pros and cons.

What they mostly have in common is that you have to create a login/password, usually answer several questions to complete your profile and sort or filter your search.

NOTE: If you are interested in working with us one-on-one to help you (as the student) or your child, search for, complete and secure scholarship, contact us HERE.  We are offering our consulting services to ease your frustration, save you time and be the ones to follow-up with the student.  We are also developing workshops presentations.  If your group is interested in having us present scholarship information to them, contact us HERE.  We will be posting more about this not he website soon.

Our series on scholarships:

Ep. 22 Money for College

Ep. 23 Jack Kent Cooke Scholar Program

Scholarship search websites mentioned in this episode:


  • review of college statistics
  • matches you to your ideal college
  • matches you to internships
  • has a section for textbooks for sale or rent


  • Book section to rent, buy or sell
  • Study section to ask questions of experts on any college topic
  • matches you with subject matter tutor
  • listing of internships
  • listing of pt/entry-level jobs for college students
  • streaming music section


  • lead app developer/creator was seen/funded on “SHARK TANK
  • downloadable app in ITunes
  • $2.99 fee for app and website access/membership
  • very large database of scholarships


  • receive email notifications when new scholarships are listed that fit your profile
  • very large database of scholarships including “generic” criteria


  • large database and listing of merit scholarships
  • great selection of categories to filter and refine your search


  • most well known site with largest database
  • comprehensive in scope of information
  • resources and tools for high school guidance counselor or youth counselor



Ep. 23 The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarship Programs for High Achieving, Low-Income Scholars

Jack Kent Cooke Scholars Program

Jack Kent Cooke Scholars Program

This episode introduces to many of you for the first time, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.  As my guest (no co-host today) is Larry Thi, Alumni (of the Cooke Scholars) & Outreach Associate for the foundation.  This title fits him perfectly because he is one of the Cooke Scholars.  He provides us with all of the details about the foundation, its’ mission and vision as well as the  many programs that the foundation sponsors.  More importantly, he talks about the scholarships that are available for incoming scholars, current college students and even 5th year students.

The programs of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation:12088281_900211743399087_3551134447181632277_n

  • Young Scholars Program – educational advising and financial support for students from 8th grade through high school. Apply Jan- April
  • College Scholarship Program – scholarship for high achieving high school seniors with financial need (up to $40k/year). Apply Sept – Nov
  • Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship – top national community college students looks to complete their bachelors’s at selective four-year colleges or universities. Apply Oct – Dec

Here are his best tips for scholars to maximize financial aid, scholarships and grants:

  1.  Initially your focus is on finding your fit and getting into college
  2. Figure out how to pay for it
  3. Creating a financial aid plan is critical.
  4. Don’t forget about a viable scholarship plan: know if the scholarship is a local, state or national scholarship award. A good rule of thumb is to apply for 3-5 local, 1-2 state and 1-2 national scholarships –
  5. Keep a chart/spreadsheet of all your essays that you use for college admission applications and recycle them for scholarships
  6. Be strategic about where you apply, focus on those colleges that will give you more institutional aid
  7. IVY League schools give out a lot of need-based aid, don’t avoid them because of the sticker price)

Schools mentioned in this episode:

Drexel University

Temple University

Lehigh University

Gettysburg College

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Motto: THINK BIG, WORK HARD AND ACHIEVE


Ep. 22 Need MORE Money for College? Find Your Scholarships Here

The episode of the College Money Maze Podcast is a chockful of nothing but scholarships.  If you need more money for college, this is the place to start. You may have received your acceptance letters, if so, CONGRATULATIONS!  Now is the time to figure ouCollege Moneyt can you afford to attend that school that accepted you.

Your acceptance letter included awards from the institution for either merit aid, internal scholarships, federal aid, state aid and an offer for student loans to make up the difference.  We are suggesting you start exploring additional scholarships NOW.

Here is a list to start with that you may qualify for.  A few tips and reminders:

  1. Keep track of deadlines
  2. Apply for as many as possible (at least 30)
  3. Know whether or not the scholarship automatically renews or if you have to reapply each year
  4. Recycle your essays
  5. Proof read your application and essays

Here are the scholarships and links mentioned in this episode:

Our Call to Action – JOIN OUR FACEBOOK GROUP – The College Money Maze Community

Looking for a gift for a college student or yourself? Look at our recommended gift list and resource section.



Ep. 21 Financial Aid Myths & Tips

Today’s episode is with a retired Rutgers financial aid administrator who helps to debunk Debunking Financial Aide Myths
college financial aid myths and gives valuable tips toward paying for college. Mr. Thomas Holmes retired from Rutgers University in 2010 and has started his own educational consulting business, Powerful Visions, LLC. This is somewhat longer than our usual episodes but well worth listening to from beginning to end.

Myth #1 Parents have to wait to file their taxes in order to complete the FAFSA.

WRONG. The FAFSA will be available beginning January 1, 2016 (and thereafter available as early as October) and you can use the previous years tax info to “estimate” what your tax liability will be.

Myth #2 You HAVE to take out a student loan to pay for college.

WRONG. An offer of a student loan can be part of the “financial aid award package” from the colleges that you apply for, especially if your need exceeds the cost of college admission (tuition + room/board/fees).  You can actually turn down a student loan if you have secured enough money to meet your financial need from outside sources such as scholarships.

Educator, Entrepreneur & Community Activist

Thomas Holmes, Educational Consultant and CEO Powerful Visions, LLC.

For example:

$30,000 is the cost of college

$5,000 is your EFC (expected family contribution) subject from above =

$25,000 is your financial need

$20,000 is the max you may be offered from federal and institutional aid=

$5,000 is the amount you are short to meet the cost of college.

It is at this point you may be offered a subsidized loan (interest free until graduation)

Myth #3 I can’t or shouldn’t apply for financial aid because my grades are not that good. Grades are not a prerequisite for getting financial aid. They are important when maintaining credit and satisfactory progress while in college.

Myth #4 I can’t change how much financial aid that I am awarded.

WRONG (Sometimes). You have the ability to file an appeal with the school and have them reconsider the amount of aid that is awarded. They may not have any control over the “state aid” but given certain circumstances, may award you more federal or institutional aid.

Myth #5 We make too much money to get financial aid, plus it is too much of a hassle.

WRONG (Almost). Everyone is “probably” eligible for something even at higher incomes such as over $200k, depends on what kind of school you are applying to.  The FAFSA is easier and simpler than ever to complete online.

Mr. Holmes’ tips for students/parents:

1. States may audit you and require additional info related to your assets before they award you financial aid.

2. Be smart about your assets, “[spp-tweet tweet=”if they can see, they will count it”.”]

3. Be aware of outside sources (scholarships) and how it will affect your award.

4. Start being intentional with your child’s academics and extra activities while they are in middle school to build up your “profile”.

5. Take your children on college tours while they are a freshman to get used to the concept.


Ep. 20 Road Trip: Philadelphia College Fair

This episode is a recap/debrief of our recent road trip to the College Fair in Philadelphia.  The college fair is sponsored by NACAC – National Association of College Admission Counselors. They have a complete listing of college fairs across the country for the fall and spring season every year.  This was my first experience and my brother’s second with his family. There were well over 800 colleges in attendance at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.College Fair

I try to describe it for you but you must attend one local to you atlas 2-3 times between sophomore and senior year of high school. The first time attending a college fair with a sophomore (or younger) is just to get them used to the concept.  The second time you attend with your child should be between 10th and 11th grade.  They most likely have more of a focus or an idea of what they want to major in. If they are interested in sports, they will be attracted to those schools and teams that they have heard and/or seen on TV.  By senior year, they will be laser focused when attending and only visit the top 5-10 schools of their choice and spending more quality time with the admissions person to show their genuine interest.

There is a lot of literature, brochures, cool stuff that they give away.  The schools that caught our interest were:

Rutgers (of course!)

Arcadia University

Virginia Tech

Rowan University

We also discuss the various workshops that we each attended.  There were representatives from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA).  They answered questions about financial aid, FAFSA, scholarships etc…

Other financial aid resources:







Scholarship resources:





Ep. 19 Creating College Lists for the Home Schooled Student Athlete – DIY Style

Michelle-Kretzschmar-250Our guest on the podcast today is Michelle Kretzschmar, author and founder of DIYCollegeRankings.com.  Here website is a resource for parents interested in a streamlined approach to college recruiting for the student athlete as well as searchable college lists (in Excel) that contain demographics and ranking criteria.

This searchable spreadsheet is great for anyone that loves research, loves data and wants the information at your fingertips. This will save you time from going to each of the college websites and be able to compare your choices, side by side.  The existing search options are confusing and hard the data is hard to locate.

She is the author of Creating College Lists: Your Guide to Using College Website to Pay Less for a Better EducationShe writes in detail about how imperative it is to narrow down your search for college by analyzing the correct variables on each college’s website.  The benefit is that she has done it for you to save time and more important MONEY!  You can pick up her book (using our affiliate link, we will earn a commission and you help support the show) on our resource page HERE or get it on AMAZON HERE.

If you are child is interested in playing college baseball, soccer or softball you can find Michelle’s college lists and searchable spreadsheets for these specific sports on her website.  She charges a nominal fee for these spreadsheets but you SAVE time and money because she has done all of the research for you. You can access them by clicking on our affiliate links below:
GET The DIY College Spreadsheet!
Baseball Spreadsheet!
Soccer Spreadsheet!
Softball Spreadsheet!

DIY Link to Free Resources


Contacting Michelle:

Facebook Group






Ep. 18 The Common Application: What is it?

SCHOLARSHIP SPOTLIGHT: Doodle 4 Google contest for students/artists K-12.  One winner will receive $30,000 DEADLINE: December 7, 2015.

SCHOLARSHIP SPOTLIGHT: The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance will award $4000 to one student EACH SEMESTER whole life has been impacted by cancer. Apply now for the Spring 2016 Semester.
autumnbrewToday’s topic is The Common Application. The purpose of the common application is for students to fill out one application, pay one fee and apply to multiple colleges at the same time.

This idea will save the student, time, money and their website also allows you to store all of your information in one place. They tout it as a seamless way to manage the admission process.

There are currently over 600 colleges that are currently members of the organization that administers the common application and the website.

One of the resources on the website is a list of all of the member colleges, their deadlines, fees, requirements and the schools test policy.

In contrast to this, 80 public and private (upper level private and ivy league schools) in the U.S. have forged a coalition – The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success – to improve the college admission process.  Their goal is begin the “interactive process” with potential students earlier, as in 9th grade.  There was a press release on September 28, 2015 to announce the coalition, its’ goals and how they intend on creating additional tools, resources and also accept applications through their portal beginning summer of 2016.




The Common Application

The Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success

The Common Black College Application

Scholarships Mentioned in this episode – Doodle 4 Google/ The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Scholarship

Book Recommendation:


Ep. 17 How To Find the Right College

How To Rind The RIGHT COLLEGE eBook

In today’s episode, we welcome admissions expert Regina Paul.  She and Marie Segares host the podcast – NY COLLEGE CHAT.  She talks in depth about a special kind of high school program that she works at that combines high school curriculum with university level coursework.

They have taken their professional knowledge as educators, the information they have shared on their podcast, their experience working with families and created a book – HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT COLLEGE: A Workbook for Parents of High School Students.

Marie Segares and Regina Paul










Links in today’s episode:

The eBOOK: HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT COLLEGE: A Workbook for Parents of High School Students

Contact Info:

NY College Chat Podcast

Policy Studies Inc.


Facebook: NY College Chat





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