Financial Aid

Types of Aid

Financial Aid 101

Securing financial aid can be one of the most confusing processes. However, it really comes down to just a few simple concepts and strategies. What most students and parents don’t realize is that preparing to pay for college can begin as early as Freshman year. Here are a few tips about the process:
 
1. Sources of Aid. There are 3 sources of aid: Federal/State, Institutional, and Organizational.
  • Federal/State: Both federal and state governments offer aid to eligible students.
  • Institutional: Many colleges, especially private institutions, provide aid to their students.
  • Organizational: Many companies and organizations provide scholarships for students.
2. Types of Aid. There are 3 types of aid: Grants/Scholarships, Loans, and Work Study.
  • Grants/Scholarships: Do not need to be repaid.
  • Loans: Must be repaid. Loans are available for both parents and students.
  • Work Study: A program to help students earn money while in school.
    • Note: Being awarded work study funds does not guarantee the student will secure a job, but does offer many more opportunities to do so.
3. The Process. There are really only a few steps to getting financial aid.
  • FAFSA: Federal and state aid is determined through the FAFSA which can be submitted at www.fafsa.gov in the student’s senior year. Be sure to indicate interest in work study. Everyone should fill out the FAFSA regardless of desire or need for aid!
  • Institutional Aid: Most schools consider students for aid based on their application alone. However, some will require a separate application for particular scholarships or require you to submit a CSS Profile, which is similar to the FAFSA.
  • Scholarships: Search and apply for organizational scholarships regularly. You can find scholarships and scholarship information on Naviance.  Otherwise, ask the companies/organizations you or your parents are a part of. There are even some available for freshmen, sophomores, and juniors!
4. Wait. Once you’ve filled out the necessary applications, all you can do is wait. Once accepted, each college will send you a complete financial aid package outlining your federal/state and institutional aid, as well as your options for loans. It is only then that you can truly compare costs. Don’t worry too much about the types of grants/scholarships you are awarded. It’s the final amount that counts. Types of loans, however, will make a difference, but no need to worry about that yet. The financial aid office at the school you choose to attend will be able to walk you through everything.
 
Click Here for the Paying for College PowerPoint from the 2016 College Night

2017-2018 FAFSA Changes

On Sept. 14, 2015, President Obama announced significant changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) process that will impact millions of students. Starting with the 2017­–18 application cycle, the following changes will be put in place: 
  • Students will be able to submit a FAFSA® earlier.  Students will be able to file a 2017–18 FAFSA as early as Oct. 1, 2016, rather than beginning on Jan. 1, 2017. The earlier submission date will be a permanent change, enabling students to complete and submit a FAFSA as early as October 1 every year. (There is NO CHANGE to the 2016–17 schedule. The FAFSA became available January 1 as in previous years.)
  • Students will use earlier income information. Beginning with the 2017–18 FAFSA, students will be required to report income information from an earlier tax year. For example, on the 2017–18 FAFSA, students (and parents, as appropriate) will report their 2015 income information, rather than their 2016 income information.  
 
The following table provides a summary of key dates as we transition to using the early FAFSA submission timeframe and earlier tax information. 
 
 
If you’d like more details about the upcoming changes, you may read this fact sheet.

Additional FAFSA Resources

 
 
 
1) Table of Where to Find the Information you Need Online
2) A Sampling of Student Aid Resources of Students and Parents

Sacramento Cash for College Workshops

Please see the attached flyer for a list of workshops to help students apply for the FAFSA or Dream Act. to quality for a Cal Grant you must submit the FAFSA or Dream Act application and GPA verification no later than March 2, 2017.
 
To register please visit www.cash4college.csac.ca.gov.
 
 
Sacramento Cal-SOAP Consortium has put together a checklist for applying for financial aid.  Check it out to help you not miss any important steps.

FAFSA Info Night at Sierra College

Sierra College is delighted to announce that it will be offering a series of Financial Aid Workshops. Seniors looking to complete a FAFSA application for the upcoming 2017-18 academic year can attend one of our Friday workshops on the Rocklin campus during the next few months.
 
Please see the attached flyer for dates and information. Click Here for Sierra College campus map.
No reservation is required for these drop-in sessions.  
 
*You do not need to be attending or planning to attend Sierra to receive help

If students bring the correct documentation they should be able to complete the FAFSA application at the workshop. The students will need to create a FSA ID which replaces the PIN# and this can be done at http://fsaid.ed.gov and will serve as their legal signature.
 

Western Undergraduate Exchange

WUE (pronounced “woo-wee”) is the Western Undergraduate Exchange, and it is coordinated by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). WUE is a regional tuition-reciprocity agreement that enables students from WICHE states to enroll in more than 150 participating two- and four-year public institutions at 150 percent of the enrolling institution’s resident tuition. WUE is the largest program of its kind in the nation, and has been in operation since 1987! WUE is not a short term exchange—it is meant to be used for a full degree. Every school and program is different, search your school and program to see the application process and requirements.

2015-2016 College Financial Aid Night

For any of those unable to attend the College Financial Aid Night on December 7, 2015.  

The Financial Aid Process

Finding financial aid can seem overwhelming. The infographic below provides helpful information about the financial aid process.