In The Waste Land, T.S Eliot calls April “the cruelest month.” With colleges sending out their financial aid awards and finishing off their enrollment, April is an important month for a lot of college students and incoming freshmen who depend on financial aid to attend the schools of their dreams. Eliot wasn’t too far off, I think.
The Gallagher Student Health Careers Scholarship is open to all college juniors and seniors planning to pursue a career in a health-related field. I’m featuring this scholarship because it’s broad (open to just about any major that’s even somewhat related to health), and offers a large award ($5,000) to a group of students (6 students will win this scholarship).
Being a real person has taught me quite a bit about budgeting and saving. While I’m still new to the world of big-boy finances, a key nugget that I’ve taken away already is that having a financial plan is important. Knowing how much per month I’m going to have to dedicate towards student loans will ultimately allow me to figure out how much will be left over for groceries, rent, and fun. With things like an expired apartment lease looming in my future, I knew it was important to have my numbers hashed out this month.
Graduation is right (and I mean right) around the corner. With that has come more stress than I’ve had in my entire life. This is partially due to my fear of falling down while on stage. But until recently, I was also freaking out because my parents and I still hadn’t decided if/how they’d be helping me repay my student loans after graduation. I decided the time had come for us to make a real game plan—a game plan that’s clear, tactical, and allows my parents and me to beat these loans together. Here are some steps you can take that may help you make a plan with your parents.
You applied to college and you got in. Congratulations! Why so blue? You’re an undocumented student and you can’t afford college on your own? I get it. The first eligibility qualification for federal student aid is “you must be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen.” The second qualification for most (but not all) state aid—right after the one that says “you must be a resident of that state”—is “you must be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen”. Don’t throw in the towel just yet! Sure, your options are limited—but you do have options.
The Institutional Documentation Service (IDOC) form is essentially part II of the College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile financial aid application process. It’s a document verification tool managed by the College Board. Basically, a school may need more information than what the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) requests in order to calculate your financial need. The IDOC collects important documents (such as your tax returns and other financial documents), and sends that information to your school.
The College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile is a financial aid application used by some private colleges and universities. It requires more asset information than the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)—such as what kind of car your parents drive and how much they have saved in their retirement accounts—in order for the school to get a better picture of your financial circumstances.
The CSS Profile is used by private colleges and universities to help them determine how much non-federal financial aid to award. Basically, the government uses the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine how much aid you can receive, while private colleges use the CSS Profile. So, if you want to receive financial aid from both your college and the federal government (and your school requires the CSS profile), then you’ll have to complete both applications. The good news is that the CSS profile requires the same documentation as the FAFSA—so there isn’t a lot of additional work.
Even though the school year is coming to a close, that doesn’t mean that scholarships stop giving away money. There are tons of scholarships with deadlines during the summer months. Because most students are off on summer vacation or generally not thinking about school during the summer, you may face less competition for scholarship contests offered during the “off-season.” To get you started, I found a few scholarships with upcoming deadlines in May.
Helping people understand student loans is our job at SALT™, and few are better at it than Betsy Mayotte—the director of regulatory compliance for American Student Assistance®(our parent company). We told borrowers to “Just Ask” her questions, so check out her answers below (as well as her cat—because if Piglet can’t make student loans better, what can?).