By the end of January, mentees will:
Our aim in January is to get the most financial aid for any post-secondary program. By following these steps, most of our mentees will get most (if not all) of tuition and college fees paid for. Depending on the scholarships you receive, you’ll likely still need to take out loans if you’re-attending a private school or out-of-state school.
The good news? Save Our Youth helps with up to $2,500/semester for any remaining balance you have after applying for other aid options.
If you are positive you will not attend college after high school, continue exploring some of the different career options in the November newsletter.
Make a list of pros and cons and determine next steps that would be helpful to make sure you are ready for that path. Reach out to your Mentoring Specialist or Angela with any questions!
When in doubt, fill out the FAFSA! Completing the FAFSA doesn’t commit you to a post-secondary program. It’s just more data to help you decide on the next chapter of your journey.
Ok, here we go!!
If you do not have a Social Security Number (SSN), unfortunately you do not qualify for federal aid, but you can qualify for Colorado State Aid (called CAFSA). You can learn more and fill out the CASFA online.
If you have a SSN, you will fill out the FAFSA each year to qualify for federal grants (money you don’t have to pay back), work-study, and loans. Colleges also use this to determine any state aid you might qualify for.
FAFSA Steps to Take in January
First, determine who will be contributing on your FAFSA application. If you are confused and want to run your specific situation by Angela, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
If any of the following situations are true for you, you will file as an “independent” and not include any parent information*.
- 24 years old during the year of anticipated air
- Married (or separated, not divorced)
- Working on advanced degree
- Serving in Armed forces or veteran
- Since age 13– not living with parent, in foster care, or ward of court
- Emancipated minor
- Have court-ordered legal guardian
- Have children or dependents and provide more than half of their support
- Unaccompanied youth who is homeless
*Please note: If your parents don’t “want” to help you, but you do not technically fall into any of these unique situations, you will only qualify for loans, which you want to avoid as much as possible.
Create a FSA ID for all who will contribute to the FAFSA. Keep all username, passwords, and security numbers assigned in a safe place. It is a pain to recover these if you forget all of them.
You and anyone else contributing (ex. parents) will need their own email address and phone number. Use this article to walk you through what you need in order to create these.
Note: If your parent does not have a SSN, they will still create an FSA ID in order to answer “knowledge based” questions to verify their identity. If that doesn’t work, you will be provided a phone number and next steps to verify a different way. Your family obviously needs to determine their comfort level, but laws are in place saying the information gathered by creating these ID’s can only be used to determine financial aid eligibility and can’t be shared with other government entities.
Once your FSA ID’s are verified (typically in 1-3 days), you will be able to complete and sign the FAFSA electronically. Please follow the steps in Get Schooled’s article to complete all you need to submit the FAFSA.
Your high school might provide assistance with completing the FAFSA, so check with your counselor! Additionally, Arapahoe Community College offers FAFSA nights with Spanish speaking staff that are open to the public! Plus, you can always reach out to our Education Manager, Angela if you need help.
Please note that the current application is for the 2024-2025 school year. You should complete it ASAP but for sure by March 15 (this is the priority deadline. If you apply after you might not receive as much aid).
FAFSA has completely revamped their application for this school year, so if a mentor or parent has filled out a FAFSA in the past, please be aware that the process this year will be different.
3 More Things to Note
Planning for finances – If you are curious, you can:
- Calculate estimated college expenses with a cost calculator (mainly pay attention to the tuition and books/fees categories as all the other categories like housing and food, your parents might already be helping you with or you are already used to covering)
- That cost calculator doesn’t account for how much financial aid you will receive, so it is also helpful to look at this Federal Aid estimation resource.
Scholarships – If you have not already started, you should apply for other scholarships. Some of these will be for a few hundred dollars while others are for thousands of dollars… do not shy away from the smaller ones as they all add up!
- Talk to your school counselor about scholarship lists they have and ones they think might be a good fit for you
- Here are two websites that have general search engines where you can see which ones you might qualify for as well: Fordham Scholarship Index and the Forbes list of best scholarship websites.
College applications – Remember to continue applying for schools you are interested in attending. More tips and links can be found in our December newsletter under “College Applications.”