Guide to Paying for College – Financial Aid, Scholarships, Savings, & Student Loans

Guide to Paying for College – Financial Aid, Scholarships, Savings, & Student Loans

Obtaining a college education is one of the biggest goals in many young adults’ lives. Earning a degree opens up tons of job prospects and other opportunities that would never be possible with just a high school diploma.

They also say college can be a pretty good time. From meeting new people to experiencing things for the first (and often only) time – college is a once in a lifetime experience.

Though getting a college degree is one of the best things people can do for themselves, it doesn’t come without a price. In fact, for the 2016-2017 school year, the average student will graduate with $16,929 in student loan debt. Depending on your school and financial situation this number could be a little high or very low.

So how do millions of students pay for their higher education each year?

Well, the answer isn’t so simple.

There are a variety of ways to pay for college and many tactics and strategies to save as much money as possible when doing so.

This guide will go into these different ways to pay for college – including savings accounts, financial aid, scholarships & grants, and student loans. We will also explain, in detail, the best approaches to take when dealing with these different methods of paying for college.

As always, if you are ever confused about a specific section of this guide, or if you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to us!

Without further ado, let’s get started.


Written by counselingcenter in: General |

Varsity Tutors College Scholarship Contest – Monthly Essay Contests – Ongoing


Varsity Tutors College Scholarship Contest offers you a chance to win a $1,000 scholarship.  The contest has just three easy steps:

  1.  Write an Essay for the monthly contest topic
  2. Promote your entry through Facebook, Twitter and others
  3. Winners will be chosen – each and every month

New essay topics are announced early.  The application process is open from the 1st of each month to the 15th.  Voting begins on the 15th of each month.

The top 5 eligible entries selected during Round 1 will be judged by a panel of judges selected by Sponsor (including Sponsor’s employees) based upon the following criteria in the following percentage values of each criteria:

  • Clarity of expression: 25%
  • Creativity: 25%
  • Originality of expression: 25%
  • Sincerity: 25%

For a full list of rules, visit:  http://www.varsitytutors.com/college-scholarship-rules

Written by counselingcenter in: General |

The (Deer Park) Greenhouse Offers Education Opportunities


 It is the mission of the GreenHouse Community Center to provide a place for people to serve and be served in the community. The GreenHouse Community Center is an equal service and volunteer organization.

The GreenHouse Community Center focuses on providing services to people in need. Our first priority is ensuring basic needs are met by distributing food and clothing. Our second priority is helping people move forward by equipping them with education, job skills and providing counseling opportunities. Lastly, it is always a pleasure to provide nonessential items, such as school supplies and Christmas gifts, to those who struggle to keep the essential needs of their families met.


Monday – Saturday 9am to 5pm
(hours may vary from season to season, feel free to call ahead of time to check)

The GreenHouse Community Center
W. 12 1st Street, Deer Park, WA 99006

Written by counselingcenter in: General |

School Student Loan Debt Rankings By State

school student loan debt rankings by state

There is no denying that pursuing a college education is an important and life-changing event in a young person’s life. Obtaining a degree leads to countless opportunities that would have previously never existed without one. There is just one problem…

College is expensive. Really expensive.

In fact, for the 2015-2016 school year, the average annual costs of public and private 4-year colleges were around $34,000 and $44,000, respectively. That is no small chunk of change.

While it would be nice for all students to attend college for free, it is simply not a reality in our nation today. When college savings, scholarships, and grants aren’t enough, students and their families often have to turn to student loans to bridge the gap.

Currently, there are over 43 million Americans holding over 1.35 trillion dollars in student loan debt. Student loan debt often holds graduates back from purchasing cars, saving for retirement, and getting married, among other things. 

In our Student Loan Debt by School by State study, we found that the average borrower from the Class of 2015 graduated with around $28,400 in debt. In this study, we analyzed the average student loan debt at over 1,300 colleges throughout the nation, with hopes of helping students and their families make the best financial decisions regarding their choice of college.

Using the same data, we ranked colleges in each state by average debt per borrower below. We hope that this information helps students who are only considering certain states for college make smarter financial decisions on where to attend.

Click the state your are interested in the “Quick Navigation” below to jump to that state’s rankings.

Written by counselingcenter in: General |

10 Great Ways to Win a College Scholarship

Did you know that a sizable portion of scholarship judges claim that over 50% of all applicants don’t meet their scholarship requirements?  In addition, half of the essays they read don’t accurately answer the prompt. GoodCall scholarship experts tell students how to avoid those common pitfalls (and more) in this comprehensive scholarship guide:



Michelle Billick
Communications Manager
(980) 318-5202
1101 Red Ventures Drive | Ft. Mill, SC 29707

goodcall logo

Written by counselingcenter in: General |

Heading Out of State? – Apply for the W.U.E.

What Is WUE?

WUE is the Western Undergraduate Exchange, a program coordinated by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE).  Through WUE, students in Western states may enroll in partipating two-year and four-year public college programs at a reduced tuition level: up to 150 percent of the institution’s regular resident tuition. In all cases, WUE tuition is considerably less than nonresident tuition. For answers to many of the commonly asked questions about WUE, visit wiche.edu/askwiche.

Which States and U.S. Territories Participate?

Resident students from the following states and U.S. Territories may participate, if they meet eligibility requirements:  Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Arizona, Montana, South Dakota, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Washington, Hawaii, North Dakota, Wyoming, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands


Many institutions require evidence of academic performance, such as ACT/SAT test scores or high school GPA, or place other conditions on WUE enrollment.  Consult the WUE website for details.  Visit wiche.edu/wue.

Programs Available

Virtually all undergraduate fields are available to WUE students at one or more of the participating colleges and universities.  Some institutions have opened their entire curriculum on a space-available or first-come, first-served basis.  Others offer only designated programs at the discounted WUE rate. T o learn about the wide array of programs available, consult our searchable WUE database, located at wiche.edu/wue.  For additional details, follow the links to the enrolling institutions’ websites.

Application and Admission

Apply directly to the institution(s) of your choice for admission and WUE tuition status.  Mark prominently on the institution’s application form that you seek admission as a WUE student.

More Information

Information about specific programs offered through WUE can be obtained from the admissions office of participating institutions.

General questions may be addressed to info-sep@wiche.edu, or by calling 303.541.0270.

For further information, please go online to www.wiche.edu/wue or visit Mrs. Oviatt in the Counseling Center.

Written by counselingcenter in: General |

College Success Foundation – Supports and Scholarships

  Twitter 15by 15    

Supports and Scholarships

The CSF model provides supports beginning in 7th grade, continuing through high school

graduation and helping students as they transition to college.  CSF helps students

successfully navigate the critical transition from middle to high school.  At other levels,

emphasis is on the 9th to 10th grade transition and the high school to college transition.

After college graduation, we try to stay connected as they move on to employment and career.

In addition we manage a variety of scholarship programs to ease the financial burden

of attending college.


Take this shortcut to go directly to our guide where you can apply for

scholarships or find support for school.



We engage with students as early as 7th grade to

increase college awareness.
Read more >


We help high school students meet timelines and requirements

for graduation and college.
Read more >


We stay connected to our college scholars during college and

provide mentoring during that first

critical year.
Read more >


We create a network of community-minded leaders, ready to

transition from college to career.
Read more >

Written by counselingcenter in: General |

Free Scholarship Searches Provided By The American Educational Guidance Center

Welcome To Our Free Scholarship Searches Page

Below, you will find links to more than 70 free, online scholarship search sites listing thousands of scholarships and financial aid awards worth billions of dollars. Just visit the sites which seem most appropriate for you and find the scholarships for which you are a good match.

Most of the online scholarship search sites include scholarships that can be used by students enrolled in traditional college programs or by students earning online degrees.

www.ScholarshipExperts.com  https://www.scholarshipexperts.com

It’s no accident we’re listing Unigo first. They are one of the best, most comprehensive free online scholarship searches available to students, parents, and educators.

ScholarshipLibrary – http://www.scholarshiplibrary.com/

A well organized website with a data base of 230,000 scholarships.

college students graduating

Career One Stop – http://www.careerinfonet.org

An informational and scholarship search website sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Chegg – http://www.chegg.com/scholarships

Chegg has a large scholarship data base and is set up so students can save information on the scholarships for which they applied. In addition, Chegg sends scholarship deadline reminders to students who use their site.

College Resource Network – http://www.collegeresourcenetwork.com/

CRN offers an easy interface allowing students to search for scholarships using several categories.

StudentScholarshipSearch  – 

They claim to have “the largest database of scholarships online and a speedy scholarship matching tool”.

Human Rights Campaign Website – 

Searchable by state, this site offers “a list of scholarships, fellowships and grants for LGBT and allied students at both the undergraduate and graduate-level”.

scholarship money
CheapScholar – 

Uses a data base containing three million scholarships.

College in Colorado – 

Search by category for scholarships to Colorado colleges.

Petersons/CAPPEX – http://www.cappex.com/scholarships/

The two sites apparently partner on this free scholarship search.

High Five Scholarships – 

They imply that they have a data base with “millions of Scholarships” worth $45 billion dollars.  Pardon our skepticism but that sounds like a lot.  On the plus side, this site was recommended to us by a college scholarship administrator.

College Prowler  – https://collegeprowler.com

Registration required.  Claims a data base of 3.2 million scholarships.

CareerInfonet – http://www.careerinfonet.org

A  U.S. Department of Labor site with a data base of 7,000 scholarship and financial aid opportunities.

MyCollegeDollars – http://www.mycollegedollars.com/

Recommended to us by an admissions counselor at a university in Texas.

Scholarships 360 – 

This helpful site is run by an admissions officer at Kenyon College.

Washboard – http://www.thewashboard.org

Connects students in Washington state with in-state scholarship providers.

Kaarme – 

Unlike many other scholarship search and information sites, this one requires no registration and no contact or personal information.

ScholarshipMonkey – http://www.scholarship-monkey.com/

They claim a data base of one million scholarships with a value in excess of $3.5 billion. If that’s not enough reason to give this site a shot, how often do you get a monkey to talk to you?

students receiving scholarships

Careeronestop – http://www.acinet.org/acinet/scholarshipsearch

This site, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, has a searchable data base containing more than 5,000 scholarships, fellowships, loans, and other financial aid opportunities.

AidScholar – http://aidscholar.com/

Looks to be very easy and quick to use.

CareersandColleges – http://www.careersandcolleges.com/

Using data provided by Wintergreen Orchard House, their data base includes 1.7 million scholarships worth a total of $7 billion.

Plan for College – https://www.salliemae.com/plan-for-college/scholarships/

Salliemae’s scholarship search site. Highly recommended.

CollegeBoard Scholarship Search – http://apps.collegeboard.com

The College Board’s free scholarship search utilizes a database of more than 2,300 sources of college funding totaling almost $3 billion in scholarships and aid.

CollegeData – https://www.collegedata.com

Scholarship search service sponsored by 1st Financial Bank.

CollegeFunds – http://www.collegefunds.net/

Their website says, CollegeFunds.net helps you hunt down the most ideal student loan, scholarships and other financial aid resources available to you!

CollegeExpress – http://www.collegexpress.com

Scholarship info and other services.

CollegeScholarships.org – http://www.collegescholarships.org/

This scholarship database is maintained by a non-profit organization.

CollegeToolKit – http://scholarships.collegetoolkit.com/scholarship

These folks allow you to search for scholarships by geography, heritage, religion, extracurriculars, family affiliation, high school, or scholarship name.

Discover Nursing Scholarship Search – http://www.discovernursing.com

If you are or will be studying nursing, give this free scholarship search a try. You will probably find more nursing scholarships here than in any other source.

nursing scholarships

DiversityAbroad – http://www.diversityabroad.com

International scholarships and fellowships.

eCampusTours – http://www.ecampustours.com/payingforcollege/scholarshipsandgrants

The eCampusTours search uses a database of more than 10,000 scholarship programs that distribute awards worth more than $36 million.

Financial Aid Officer – http://www.financialaidofficer.com/scholarship_search

This free scholarship search engine lists scholarships worth $1.45 billion.

FastAid – http://www.fastaid.com/

These folks say they are, “The World’s largest and oldest private sector scholarship database.

FastWeb – http://fastweb.com/

One of the older, larger, scholarship search sites.

Find Tuition – http://www.findtuition.com/tp2/ft/home.do

This free scholarship search site lists $24 billion in scholarships.

Find the Right Scholarship – http://www.findtherightscholarship.com/

Scholarship search run by CollegeBound.

Guaranteed-Scholarships – http://www.get-recruited.com

A list of scholarships offered by individual colleges, to all enrolled students meeting specified criteria.

Hispanic Scholarship Fund – http://www.latinocollegedollars.org/

Search for scholarships for Latino students.

ImmediateScholarships – http://www.immediate-scholarships.com/

In about 30 seconds this site will match students to scholarships worth between $500 and $50,000

InternationalScholarships – http://www.internationalscholarships.com/

This scholarship search is fairly unique because it features scholarships for international students and scholarships for study abroad programs.

Joint Academic Scholarship Online Network – http://www.jason.edu.au/

The introduction on their website says, “The scholarships in the database apply to Australian students wishing to study at home or abroad, and to international students wishing to study in Australia.”

MaineScholarshipSearch – http://www.famemaine.com/education/ScholarshipSearch.asp

State of Maine sponsors this online scholarship search.

MeritAid – http://www.meritaid.com/

A data base listing scholarships totaling billions of dollars.

Military.com – http://aid.military.com/scholarship

This site claims to help students find, “millions of dollars in scholarships and grants exclusively for the military community”.

military scholarships

MoolahSPOT – http://www.moolahspot.com/

Their data base houses 3.2 million scholarships and grants.

myfreedegree – http://www.myfreedegree.com/

Their database contains, “billions of dollars of college scholarships and financial aid awards”, including some for bowlers, knitters, “C” students, cartoonists, etc.

NextStudent – http://www.nextstudent.com/scholarships/scholarship-search/

According to their site, they give you free access to a database “of more than 42,000 college funding sources comprised of more than 2.4 million individually awarded scholarships valued at over 3.4 billion dollars.

The Scholarship Page – http://www.scholarship-page.com/

Started by a student in 1997, this site primarily featured engineering scholarships, but has since expanded to include others.

Scholarships.com – http://www.scholarships.com/

This site claims a scholarship database of 3,0000 sources worth up to $3 billion.

Scholarships101 – http://www.scholarships101.com/

A listing of over 800,000 individual scholarship awards valued at more than $2.8 billion.

ScholarshipsCanada – http://www.scholarshipscanada.com/

These folks call their site “Canada’s most comprehensive scholarship portal”.

CanLearn – http://www.studentawards.com/canlearn/

Another Canadian free scholarship search site.

Hotcourses – http://www.scholarship-search.org.uk/

Student Money – A UK based scholarship search.

Princeton Review – http://www.princetonreview.com/sallie-mae-scholarship.aspx

A data base containing over 3 million scholarships.

Scholarship Hunter – http://www.scholarshiphunter.com/

Not a great looking site, but a search here might be worth a try.

School Soup – http://www.schoolsoup.com/

Their scholarship data base lists $32 billion in scholarships.

Study Abroad Funding – http://www.studyabroadfunding.org/

Their website says, “Our comprehensive database of study abroad scholarships, fellowships, and grants can help make your dream of studying abroad a financial possibility and a profound reality.” Scholarship searches can be conducted by country or subject.

Student Awards – http://www.studentawards.com/My-Dashboard.aspx

Just register and search.

SuperCollege – http://www.supercollege.com

An online scholarship search sponsored by Harvard educated folks who publish books on college planning.

Tuition Funding Sources – http://www.tuitionfundingsources.com/

The name says it.

United Negro College Fund Scholarship Search – http://www.uncf.org

A free online scholarship search sponsored by the United Negro College Fund.

student on scholarship

Zinch – http://www.zinch.com/scholarships/search

There is no indication how large their data base is.

CollegeNet/Mach 25 – http://www.collegenet.com/mach25/app

Allows you to search through 600,000 awards for scholarship matches.

Nationally Coveted Scholarships and Fellowships – http://www.fatomei.com

Not really a scholarship match program but a very good site that lists undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral awards.

International Education Financial Aid – http://www.iefa.org/

The IEFA website was created to be a resource for financial aid, college scholarship and grant information for US and international students wishing to study abroad.

Pacific Northwest Scholarship Guide – http://www.collegeplan.org

A free online scholarship match program maintained by the nonprofit College Planning Network, serving students of the Pacific Northwest.

National Data Base of Scholarships – http://www.free-4u.com/

This free scholarship search sites claims to list scholarships worth more than 10 billion dollars.

Scholarship Spotlight – http://www.scholarshipspotlight.com/

They claim to have the data base with the greatest number of scholarships.

Student Scholarships – http://www.studentscholarships.org/

They say they have “the largest scholarship database on the web”, a claim that others make as well.

Nerd Scholar – http://www.nerdwallet.com/nerdscholar/

Scholarship searches and other info for students.

Outside Scholarships – http://outsidescholarships.org/search/

According to their website, they have a database with a total of $1.6 million dollars in scholarships.

coffee photo

Do you know of a free scholarship search site not listed above?

If so, tell us about it (Email Us)  and we’ll be extremely happy to send you a $20 gift certificate for Starbucks, Barnes and Noble, or Best Buy (your choice).

Written by counselingcenter in: General |

College Bound Scholarship Information – Frequently Asked Questions



1. What are the academic requirements to receive the College Bound Scholarship (CBS)?

You must:

• Graduate from a Washington State High School

• Have a 2.0 cumulative GPA (the average of all high school classes)

2. Can I earn a GED instead of a high school diploma?

No. A GED is not accepted.

3. I applied for College Bound when I was in middle school and received a College Bound certificate, doesn’t that guarantee that I will receive the Scholarship?

No, there are several more steps you must complete to receive the Scholarship. In addition to the academic requirements (see above) you must also meet the income requirement. Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) provides the college’s financial aid staff the information to determine if you meet the income requirement. Since the College Bound Scholarship is need-based, it may not be a part of your financial aid award, if your need has been fully met by other grants and scholarships. You must also be accepted to college and complete the college’s financial aid paperwork in a timely manner.

4. Do I have to have a Social Security number (SSN) to receive College Bound – I didn’t need one to apply?

Although you did not need a Social Security number (SSN) to apply, you must be a U.S. citizen with a Social Security number or an eligible non-citizen with documentation such as an Alien Registration Card to receive federal and state financial aid, including the College Bound Scholarship. For more information, follow this link and scroll down to eligible non-citizen. studentaid.ed.gov/glossary#letter_e

Participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are not eligible for federal and state financial aid.

5. I do not meet the citizenship requirements now, but I will soon. Can I apply for financial aid and get my College Bound Scholarship after my citizenship status changes?

You may apply for financial aid after your status changes. However, participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program are not eligible for federal or state financial aid because their citizenship status is not changed.

6. Do I have to graduate with my high school class to receive College Bound?

No. You may graduate earlier or later than your original high school class.

7. I had detention a couple of times when I was in high school; does that mean I won’t get the Scholarship?

Your high school disciplinary record is not considered. However, if you have been convicted of a felony, you are not eligible for the College Bound Scholarship. You are expected to tell the Council or the college if you have a felony conviction.

8. Do I have to enroll in college right after I graduate from high school to receive the Scholarship?

No. However, you must enroll in college no later than the fall term (as defined by the college) one academic year following high school graduation. For example, if you graduate by August 2013 you have until fall 2014 to enroll in college. Be sure you meet all the college’s deadlines for class registration to complete enrollment.

9. What must I do to continue receiving my College Bound Scholarship once I’m in college?

You must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), as determined by the college, and meet the income requirement each year as determined by the FAFSA.

10. How many years can I receive my Scholarship?

College Bound is a four-year scholarship (8 semesters, 12 quarters) that must be used within five years of high school graduation. It is to your advantage to complete your degree within four years. A bachelor’s degree is the highest degree you can earn using the CBS.

11. Can I attend college part-time?

Yes. However, your College Bound funds will be reduced. For example, 9 to 11 quarter credits is considered 3/4 time and College Bound will be reduced to a 75 percent award. Enrolling in 6 to 8 quarter credits will result in a 50 percent pro-rated award. 3 to 5 quarter credit enrollment will result in a 25 percent award. Remember College Bound is a 4-year scholarship that must be used within five years of high school graduation so plan to finish your degree within the five years.

12. I may need to take a quarter or semester off school- will I lose my Scholarship?

As long as you are still income eligible, you can “re-start” the College Bound Scholarship. Remember, however, that the College Bound Scholarship is a four-year scholarship that must be used within five years of high school graduation.

13. Who should I contact when I have a question about College Bound?

The College Bound toll-free number is 1-888-535-0747, or email us at collegebound@wsac.wa.gov


1. What does the Scholarship pay for?

College Bound fills the gap for tuition (at public institution rates) and fees not met by State Need Grant or other state aid and a small allowance for books. College Bound is not a ‘full-ride’ scholarship. The maximum award is based on tuition and service & activity fees for 15 credits at a public institution, plus the book allowance. The other college costs such as room and board, transportation, personal expenses, etc. will be the student and family’s responsibility and could be covered by a combination of the family’s funds and federal grants, loans, scholarships and work-study.

2. What are college fees? Does College Bound pay for them?

There are various fees charged by the college. College Bound covers only service and activity fees which are determined by each college. Check the college website for examples of service and activity fees.

3. How much will I get from College Bound?

The amount of your Scholarship depends on many factors such as your family’s income, Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and the costs associated with the college you attend. For example, it will be less expensive if you live at home and attend a community college than if you live on campus and attend a four-year university. The choices you make will affect your financial aid award.

4. How do I get my allowance for books?

It will be included in your College Bound financial aid award.


1. When should I apply to college?

Every college has different application deadlines. For some large universities, you may begin applying up to one year prior to your high school graduation. For community college or technical college, you may need to apply several months before classes begin. For exact dates, check with the colleges you are considering.

2. Where can I use my College Bound Scholarship?

Is there a list of eligible colleges? There are 68 eligible institutions in Washington. They include public community or technical colleges, public four-year institutions, approved, independent colleges or universities, or private career colleges where you may use your College Bound Scholarship.

Click here for a list: wsac.wa.gov/sites/default/files/SNG_EligibleInstitutions2012-2013.pdf

3. What is a college application fee?

Some, but not all colleges, require an application fee when you apply. There are application fee waivers available. If you qualified for an SAT or ACT test waiver, you should also be able to receive the application fee waiver. Ask the Admissions office about waivers or search the college website.

4. Are there other forms and deadlines?

Yes. You will have to complete forms for the college’s Financial Aid office, Residential Life (housing and meal plan), etc. Respond to all requests immediately – delaying could affect your financial aid award, your housing assignment, or class schedule. So keep a calendar and check your mail or email often.

5. What type of degree or certificate can I earn?

You may earn any approved degree or certificate offered by the 68 schools listed above. Funds may not be used for a Theology program at any school. The highest degree you can earn using the Scholarship is a bachelor’s degree.

6. Can I attend a private college even though the tuition is more?

Yes, however the College Bound Scholarship covers the cost of tuition at public institution rates. This means that the Scholarship for most private four-year institutions will be based on the average award value of Washington’s two public research campuses (University of Washington and Washington State University), and for most private two-year institutions it will be based on the award value at community and technical colleges. You will have to make up the difference with other funds.

7. Why should I apply for community college early?

I thought you could apply anytime. Freshman classes fill up quickly so by applying early you can be assured that you will get the classes you want. Whether you are applying for financial aid or applying to college, it is to your benefit to apply early because you will be at the ‘front of the line.’ You will likely have a designated date and time to register for classes.


1. What is the FAFSA?

It is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and may be found at www.fafsa.gov. There are many resources to help you complete the FAFSA – in your community, at your school, at the website www.fafsa.gov, etc. Never pay someone to help you complete the FAFSA – all resources are free.

2. What is the ‘FAFSA priority filing date?

February 1st. College Bound students who plan to attend college in the 2013-14 academic year should complete the FAFSA between January 1 and February 1, 2013, to receive priority consideration for the maximum award you are eligible for from all financial aid sources.

3. Do my parents have to file their taxes before I complete the FAFSA?

No. You may use last year’s taxes or estimated tax amounts in your initial FAFSA filing. Once your parents have completed their taxes, you will need to log-in to the FAFSA site and update the income portion.

4. If I missed the ‘FAFSA priority filing date’ have I missed out on the Scholarship?

No, but you should still file the FAFSA as soon as possible. You will still be eligible for the College Bound Scholarship if you meet all the requirements. However, other aid sources are limited, which is why you should file by the February 1 FAFSA priority filing date.

5. Should I file the FAFSA if I’m not sure if I’m going to go to college or I’m not sure where?

Yes, the FAFSA is free and takes less than an hour to complete. If there’s any chance you may attend college in the 2015-16 academic year, just file it.

6. Do I have to file a FAFSA every year I am in college?

Yes, file before February 1st, just as you did your senior year of high school.

7. What happens after I file my FAFSA?

The Washington Student Achievement Council (the Council) will match your original College Bound application with your FAFSA and notify you by email (the one listed on your FAFSA) if the match was successful. Your parent/guardian will receive a copy of this email. If you do not receive an email within two weeks of submitting your FAFSA, call the Council at 1-888- 535-0747.

8. How will the colleges know I am a College Bound student – do I have to tell them?

Your name will automatically be shared with the colleges you indicate on the FAFSA. Be sure to list every college you are considering.

9. If I make a mistake on my FAFSA or need to update my information, how do I do that?

If you wrote an incorrect email or mailing address, forgot to sign the FAFSA, or need to update your income, you may log in to make those changes. However, if you incorrectly reported your SSN, contact the Financial Aid office at the college.

10. Is the FAFSA the only financial aid form I have to complete?

No. The FAFSA is only the first step of the financial aid process. Your college will likely have other financial aid forms for you to complete.

11. How do I know if my family meets the College Bound Scholarship income requirement?

The maximum income for a family of four is 65 percent of the median family income (MFI) which in 2012-13 is $53,000. To see the MFI chart, with amounts for different family sizes, follow this link wsac.wa.gov/PreparingForCollege/CollegeBound/MFIChart.

12. My family made too much money this year to receive the Scholarship, but my father may lose his job next year – could I receive College Bound then?

Yes. Eligibility can be reevaluated or restarted if you have a valid College Bound application, file the FAFSA, and you met the other requirements.

13. We were selected for “income verification” by the college, what does that mean and why were we selected?

This process is a way for your college to confirm the data you reported is accurate, such as tax returns, on your FAFSA. It is a random process and it is important that you contact the financial aid office immediately. Don’t delay – doing so could affect your financial aid award and whether or not you can attend college.

14. How does federal aid (the Pell, SEOG, etc.) affect my financial aid award?

Think of your financial aid as a complete package – it does not matter which grant pays which expense. Grant aid will combine to cover campus charges and anything remaining will pay for other expenses, such as housing or transportation. The college financial aid office will determine which funds pay tuition.

15. I know what the FAFSA is, but what about the other terms?

Where can I find more about SAR, EFC, Work Study, grants, institutional aid, private scholarship, loans? This glossary, provided by the U.S. Department of Education, is an excellent resource.   studentaid.ed.gov/glossary#


1. Will I receive my Award Letter(s) (offer of financial aid) in the mail or by email?

It depends on the school. Check the website to see if you will be sent an Award Letter or if you have to login and retrieve it from the business office.

2. I received notification that I filed my FAFSA and that it matched with my College Bound application, but I still haven’t received my financial aid award letter, why not?

POSSIBLE REASON ACTION Your FAFSA is incomplete. Check your email for messages from the Department of Education. You did not include the college name on your FAFSA. Check the list of schools on your FAFSA. Make updates if necessary. You have been chosen for the Verification Process. Contact the college’s Financial Aid office and supply the requested information immediately. Your high school graduation requirements have not been verified. Contact the Council to find out if a copy of your final transcript is required. 1-888-535-0747. Your family does not meet the income requirements.

Review the income requirements at wsac.wa.gov/PreparingForCollege/CollegeBound/MFIChart. You missed the enrollment deadline at the college. Check the college’s website to make sure you met the deadline. The college has not prepared Award Letters yet. Check the college’s site for when Award Letters will be sent.

3. I don’t understand my Award Letter, who can help me?

Check out your college’s financial aid web page for an explanation of the Award Letter and an explanation of your options. Also the Northwest Education Loan Association (NELA) hosts several online webinars to explain the ‘next steps.’ NELA’s webinar list can be found here: https://events.nela.net/ Many colleges now use the “Shopping Sheet,” a standardized financial aid Award Letter. To see an example of a standardized shopping sheet, click here: http://collegecost.ed.gov/shopping_sheet.pdf. Comparing Award Letters is also recommended, as you decide which school is the best fit for you. You can use an online calculator at www.finaid.org/calculators/awardletter.phtml, or a printed version at www.nasfaa.org/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=12573

4. I don’t see the College Bound Scholarship on my award letter or it’s not as much as I expected?

These are a few of the possible reasons; check with your college’s Financial Aid office if you have questions.  Your family’s income does not meet the standard of 65 percent of MFI ($53,000 for a family of four).  Your financial aid award is greater than your ‘need.’  You did not enroll full-time.  Other state financial aid was offered.  Your college has included your College Bound award with your State Need Grant award.

5. How do my parents and I decide which kind of loan to take out?

Ask these important questions when considering which kind of loan to take and only borrow what you need. You do not have to accept the total amount of loans offered.

1. Is it a direct federal student loan such as the Stafford or Perkins or is it a private loan? If you qualify, there are advantages to taking out a federal loan and the application is part of the FAFSA.

2. What is the interest rate?

3. When does repayment begin?

4. What is the total cost for the degree or certificate I plan to earn?

5. How much debt am I willing to take on?

6. How much can I expect to earn in my profession? Check out www.bls.gov for salary and career information.

For more information, visit: http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans

Written by counselingcenter in: General |

Washington State Need Grant – no deadline

Sponsored by Washington Student Achievement Council

Deadline:  None
Award Amount:  $6,140
Number of Awards:  70,000
Total Money Available:  $429,800,000

Applicant must be a Washington state resident who has a family income of equal or less than 70% of the state median (see Family Income Chart on sponsor’s site).  Applicant must be pursuing a first bachelor’s degree, certificate, or associate’s degree, enrolled with a minimum of three credits.  FAFSA is required.

Coverage Details:  Award amount varies by the type of school recipient will attend. Please see chart on sponsor’s site highlighting the maximum that can be received, if enrolled full-time. This scholarship does not require attending a specific college.

  • The award amount granted for this scholarship is $6,140; four (4) times higher than the average for all scholarships
  • This scholarship grants 70,000 awards, which is among the highest across all scholarships where the average is two (2)
  • The total money available for this scholarship is $429,800,000, which is $122,800 times higher than the average of all scholarships

For further information, visit Mrs. Oviatt in the Counseling Center or log on to:  http://scholarships.startclass.com/l/1002/State-Need-Grant


Written by counselingcenter in: General |

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