Ep. 53 The College Money Puzzle Part 2: Financial Aid & Scholarships

The College Money Puzz;e-2

This is the second and final part of our series on The College Money Puzzle.  In this episode, we focus on the fundamentals of financial aid and scholarships.

Mostly, this will give you the last two pieces of the puzzle to gain a thorough baseline understanding of all of the money factors with getting into and paying for college.

Financial aid can be awarded in the form of State Aid or Federal Aid. The most important first step is understanding that completing the FAFSA is the only way to find out if you qualify for any type of financial aid and even some institutional scholarships. Here are our best suggestions about money, financial aid and scholarships:

  1. Complete the FAFSA entirely, correctly and timely (or early starting in October 2016).
  2. Be consistent with your information from year to year.  Your money situation may change for any number of reasons.  If so, be honest and clear and provide supplemental documentation if necessary.
  3. Find out if the school(s) you are interested in are also requiring you to complete the CSS PROFILE.  This is an additional financial form which asks more specific questions about assets, investments and household income or resources.
  4. The Common Application is a great way to say money by avoiding the additional application fees when applying to multiple schools. You pay one fee and apply up to about 10 schools at the same time (saves money) with only one or two essays to complete. Now high school juniors can create an account, save their data and update it when they are ready.
  5. The Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success application has more than 90 member colleges (most elite, private schools).  Double check your colleges for which application they accept.
  6. The Common Black College Application is available for those that want to apply to HBCU (Historically Black College and University).
  7. For Scholarships, start early and local.  There are many private foundation, local clubs and organizations that offer scholarships. Search where you live first.
  8. Have your student develop a close relationship with their guidance counselor who is often the gatekeeper in the high school when it comes to scholarships.  They often recommend students for local scholarships for various reasons.
  9. Check with your employer, especially if you work in corporate that may offer scholarship money to the community and to the children of their employees.
  10. If you are not a member of a fraternal organization, I am sure you know someone who is.  Minority Greek-letter organizations focus on education and offer scholarships to youth.
  11. Do a general search on the internet by topic (Math, Biology, English, etc…). Use a major search engine to narrow down the focus.
  12. Try not to disqualify your scholarship application by not filling it out completely, answer all of the questions.
  13. Do not go over the word count. Have someone else review the essay.
  14. Finally, commit to at least 1 hour each day or time on the weekend to search and complete scholarship applications. Act like it’s a PT JOB!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Brown School Senior Wins $1 Million in Scholarships (Check out the video)

Ep. 50 Unique Summer Scholarships

Ep. 45 Gap Year, Alumni, What If I Lose My Financial Aid?

Ep. 41 Why Millennials can’t get State Financial Aid

Ep. 39 Winning $1 Million in Scholarships (Without being the cream of the crop)

Ep. 31 How to Win College Scholarships

Also listen to our 4-Part FAFSA Series (Ep. 25- Ep. 28)

Program Partners & Affiliates

Ink Cartridges (Back to School Sale)

Dr. Eric Thomas, Motivational Speaker (check out this YOU TUBE video)

The Secret to Success Podcast (w/Eric Thomas & CJ)

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: