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. 41 Why Millennials Can’t Get State Financial Aid

Millennials and State Financial Aid

Millennials and State Financial Aid

This episode of the podcast is a discussion around an article that I came across that discussed the problem that millennials are finding themselves in the middle of. They are systematically being shut out of state financial aid.  The article, “The financial aid policy that shuts out millions of students” is taken from the Hechinger Report.

Millennials is the fastest growing segment of our population that range in age from 18-34 years old. They are also the bulk of those attending colleges and universities around this country.  The problem is that if you decide to defer, delay, post-pone going to college, your changes of qualifying for state financial aid diminish drastically each year that you wait.  There can be many valid reasons millennials are not going to college immediately after high school such as traveling, needing to work and earn money to pay for their education, they start a family and need to take care of an infant, they need to work and take care of an elderly parent etc…

There are many states such as Michigan (mentioned in the article) that are penalizing millennials by having a restriction that says that if you apply for state tuition assistance and it has been more that 10 years from high school graduation, you don’t qualify.

Links mention in this podcast:

Hechinger Report

PA Higher Education Assistance Authority – State Grant Programs

NJ Higher Education Student Assistance Authority

Gov. Christie’s Proposed Cuts to Educational Opportunity Fund

College Money MasterClass


Scholarship Spotlight – (NJ RESIDENTS) Survivor Tuition Benefits: Eligible children and surviving spouses of New Jersey Firefighter, emergency service workers and law enforcement officers who were killed in the line of duty may enroll free of tuition charges at any public institution of higher education.