FAFSA (F-R-E-E Application for Federal Student Aid at www.fafsa.gov)  
Follow these Cafe College tips:

Completing the F-R-E-E Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA - www.fafsa.gov ) is the first step in the financial aid process. You must fill out the FAFSA to apply for federal student financial aid, such as the Pell Grant, student loans, and college work-study. New York State and most colleges use your FAFSA to make their financial aid awards as well.

The sooner you fill out your FAFSA, the better.  Many types of financial aid are distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis, so it’s to your advantage to file as early as possible.  Check with your college and file in time to meet the earliest deadline. It’s important to meet all deadlines!

Click on the 5  Cafe College Links to begin your financial aid journey:

  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)  
  • Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA)
  • Types of Grants
  • Types of Loans
  • Work Study

Apply for Financial Aid Every Year!
Remember, you need to complete the FAFSA not just once, but every year you plan to attend school.  If you filled out a FAFSA the year before, you can probably use the shorter Renewal FAFSA.

FAFSA Completion Resources

Video: Avoid These Common FAFSA Mistakes
Simple errors can delay financial aid applications, so plan ahead and double-check your work.

Millions of students submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid every year. Many of these applicants also miss out on moneybecause of simple mistakes on their FAFSA.
Rushing through the form, failing to read instructions and entering incorrect information can cost students thousands in federal and state financial aid, but errors can be easily avoided if students and families know what to expect.
U.S. News talked about common FAFSA mistakes and how students can avoid them with Frank Green, president of the Western Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, and Liz Tuma, director of scholarship management services at Scholarship America. Scholarship America writes The Scholarship Coach blog for U.S. News.
Have questions about paying for college? Ask U.S. News Education on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.
Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is one of the most important steps a student can take to pay for college.
While the Department of Education has streamlined the FAFSA over the years, many students and parents still have questions aboutwhen to fill out the form, what information to include and how to account for circumstances such as divorce, same-sex parents or foster care.
To help college-bound families, U.S. News gathered a panel of experts – including Susan Teerink, director of financial aid at Marquette University in Wisconsin; Joe Bagnoli, vice president for admission at Grinnell College in Iowa and Kristine Bureau, assistant director of compliance in the financial aid office at Regis University in Colorado – to answer your questions about the FAFSA.

[Watch our FAFSA Q-and-A.]
Kelsey Sheehy is an education reporter at U.S. News, covering high schools and college financing. You can follow her on Twitter or email her at [email protected].

Need help with the FAFSA® but don’t know where to start? Use the FAFSA Assistant for tips and advice. CollegeCovered.com/Assist
Discover also has a free FAFSA assistant tool

Click on this link to access "AID FOR COLLEGE IN TEXAS" (Read disclaimer below before clicking on link):  http://collegeforalltexans.com/apps/CollegeMoney/


By taking these steps early you will not only stay organized but also be ahead of the game.

Scholarship Scams
A good rule of thumb: If you have to pay money in order to qualify for a “scholarship program ” or a “scholarship service,” it is almost certainly a scam. Visit the Scholarship Scams page to learn more.

Listed are some useful websites to help you start your scholarship search.  These websites are databases that require you to answer a series of questions to help match you with potential scholarship opportunities and it is important that you answer all questions.  Alamo Heights does not endorse these websites although they are a great resource to help you get started in your scholarship search.

Website to help answer questions:  Sallie Mae Resources

Scholarship Databases

College Net www.collegenet.com

College Board Search search.collegeboard.com/home.jsp

Discover has a scholarship site that does not require registration so students are not overwhelmed with emails like other sites.  Discover's Scholarship Search engine contains over 3 Million scholarships and information about Discover's scholarship.

Free Scholarship Search www.freschinfo.com

Minnie Steven's Piper Foundation www.everychanceeverytexan.org/about/scholars/

School Soup  www.SchoolSoup.com 

Wired Scholar www.wiredscholar.com

USA Funds www.usafunds.org

Additional Resources
Students and parents can get additional scholarship and financial aid resources through the Listing Folder link on the Alamo Heights College Center website.  We encourage you to take this time to begin the steps to help you pay for college.  Also, meet with the College Admissions Counselor to learn about additional opportunities available at our school.

CSS/Financial Aid Profile :

For a list of colleges/universities that use the CSS Profile:  CSS List

Please visit the "Naviance College Family Connection" link where you will find all scholarships that are sent to the college center.

Navigating the maze can be intimidating, but ACT can help smooth your path. Visit their financial aid website

for an overview in easy-to-understand language, plus a list of resources for more information about loans, scholarships, government programs, and other financial aid options.

Federal financial aid is available for students who plan to attend four-year or two-year, public or private, career or trade schools. The aid is intended to cover expenses such as tuition, room and board, books and other supplies, and transportation. Most financial aid is given because a student has demonstrated a need for it.

Some grants and scholarships

are awarded to students based on their grades, accomplishments, or other personal characteristics, rather than financial need. To maximize your students chances of receiving a scholarship, you and your student will need to research the scholarships available and work to complete the applications.

You might want to check out these two scholarship programs that ACT helps develop and administer: MassMutual Scholars Program

and Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation.


Application periods for both programs open in early January. Be sure to tap your students high school counselor and financial aid offices at the colleges or schools where your student has applied for help as you make your way through the financial aid maze.

You may also want to check out these online resources also provided by ACT:

*  Federal Student Aid Information Center

* Federal Student Aid

* Guide to government grants and student loans

* Comprehensive student financial aid information, advice, and tools

* Information about new federal student loan payment and forgiveness programs

*Advice for understanding borrowing to pay for higher education and how it affects families


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