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    Scholarship & Financial Aid Information
     
     
    College is Possible
     
    This Scholarship and Financial Aid Information provides an overview of scholarships and the financial aid process,

    lists scholarships and grants available exclusively to seniors in Loudoun County Public Schools, lists scholarships and grants available exclusively to seniors in each of Loudoun County ’s high schools, and suggests resources for investigating other sources of financial aid.

     

    References to “college” in this handbook include educational programs after high school graduation.

    When colleges list their “cost,” most include tuition, fees, books and supplies, living expenses (called “room and board”),

    transportation, and a small amount for personal expenses. Consequently, the “cost” can seem VERY high.

    Wise planning, excellent organization, good research, quality applications, and dedication to pursuing your college education all contribute to your obtaining the funds you need to attend college. Most students who apply for financial aid and who genuinely need it, receive all or part of what they need to attend college.

     

    When deciding where to apply, use common sense to select colleges with a range of costs, including some that are within your reach financially. Never eliminate a college you really want on the grounds of cost alone. Also, remember that the admission and financial aid decisions are made separately and independently of one another; so being a candidate for financial aid usually makes no difference in the decision to offer admission.

     

    Steps in the Financial Aid Application Process

     

    Step 1

    • Apply for admission to the college.

    Step 2

    • Apply for financial aid as soon as possible after January 1 of your senior year.
    • Submit your Financial Aid application early because most colleges have limited aid to award,
    • The aid package is determined soon after you are accepted,
    • Late applicants run the risk of finding that aid funds are gone!

    Step 3

    • The college admissions committee meets and makes an admission decision.

    Step 4

    • The admissions committee notifies the college financial aid office that you have been accepted, and the financial aid office reviews the financial aid application information and determines if financial aid, in fact, does exist and how much aid should be offered.

    Step 5

    • The financial aid office, after determining how much aid in various forms is available for distribution, awards packages of aid to applications according to their financial need.

    Step 6

    • You are notified by the admissions office of acceptance and, either at the same time or soon thereafter, the financial aid office notifies you of its financial aid package offer.

     

    ADVICE:

    If you need aid to meet the cost of college, you must be realistic, hopeful, and organized! A college is not obligated to offer financial aid to all accepted students, so be sure you apply to at least one college whose cost is within your resources without substantial aid.

     

    How to Apply for Scholarships in This Booklet

    • Read the scholarship requirement and select scholarships for which you qualify.
    • Check for links to applications on the Loudoun County Public School website or the individual school Guidance website. If the application is not available on-line, request it from the Career Center/Guidance Office.
    • Neatly and completely provide the information requested on the application. Type, word process, or print.
    • Proofread. Check for spelling and grammatical errors.
    • Submit the completed application with any other information that is required no later than April 3.
    • Follow your Guidance Office’s procedures for obtaining a transcript. Unless otherwise stated, each application requires a transcript.

    Questions and Answers about Financial Aid

     

    Must a student plan to attend a four-year college or university to receive financial aid?

    Students who wish to pursue further education at a vocational school, specialized school, or two-year college are eligible for many types of financial aid. If a scholarship states specifically that it is limited to students’ attending four-year schools, then that rule is followed. Our society needs and values individuals with many different types of advanced education and training, and scholarship offerings reflect that.

     

    My parents are not planning to help me any with college costs. Can I call myself an independent student?

    Usually you are considered dependent unless you are married, have a dependent, have served in the military, are a graduate student, an orphan or ward of the court, or are over 24.Colleges check very carefully on that status. Talk with the college’s financial aid advisor.

     

    My sister applied for federal aid but didn’t get anything. Why might my situation be different?

    It may or may not be. If two members of a family are full-time college students, the family’s ability to pay will not increase and they will have less money which needs to go further, so both students may qualify for help. Also, situations change from year to year.

    If you wish to apply for an unsubsidized Stafford loan, you must complete the FAFSA regardless of your financial need. Your parents are older, too, and that factor increases your chance for aid. You will not know if you don’t apply, and the costs are only time and a postage stamp.

    The EFC (Estimated Family Contribution) on the SAR (Student Aid Report) says we can afford to pay “all this money,” and we can’t—there’s no way!

    The EFC on the SAR is based on a formula established by Congress and attempts to be fair to everyone. Very few families believe they have all the money they will ever need for college. If you have special circumstances, such as extremely high medical bills or a parent who is disabled or unemployed, you will want to talk to the financial aid administrator about those circumstances.

     

    We keep getting mail about scholarship firms which promise and even guarantee money for college, but we would have to pay them for their help. Is it worth the money?

    Save your money and talk to your counselor about this. Most of the firms charge large amounts of money and generate lists which give you information about federal and state loans, grants, and scholarships contained in this publication. Some may do a computer search which asks about various groups to which you have ties. From that search they can generate lists of possible scholarships for you. You can do that for yourself, using the Choices program in the career center of your high school.
     
    What do I need to look for to avoid a "scholarship scam"? 
    Some scam warning signs are as follows:  You have to pay a fee; Money-back offers or guaraentees; Credit card or bank account information required; and, Provdes "exclusive" information.
     
    Scams: "Phishing" & "Pharming"
    "Phishing" - Unsolicited emails that bear the logo of your bank or credit card.  Appear legitimate but are traps to lure you into giving out your personal or account information.  NEVER give out Social Security credit card or bank account numbers to unsolicited emails or calls.
     
    "Pharming" - Unsolicited emails that encourage you to visit a website or click on suspicious links.  Make sure your inbox spam filters are up to date.
    BE CAREFUL to whom you give out your contact information or email address.

     

    All of this information is scary. What suggestions do you have?

    Try to go step-by-step instead of looking at everything you do not know about. Remember when you started high school and everything seemed overwhelming? Now you’re almost ready to graduate. You are preparing to make another big move, but you should be ready if you tackle things in an organized step-by-step way.

    Remember that your high school counselor can help you and the college admissions and financial aid counselors are also ready to help you. Ask, ask, and ask again.

    Also, remember that the only “dumb question” is the one you want an answer to and don’t ask.

     

    I really would like to go to a private college, but the price is just too high. Is there any way?

    Yes, there may be. Remember that Virginia residents who attend most private Virginia colleges qualify for the Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG) which helps to pay some college costs. Also, your EFC will not change, regardless of how much the college costs, but your “need” will be greater. This means you may qualify for more federal aid. Too, keep in mind that many private schools have large endowments and special funds which they can award to students.

     

    Printed Information

     

    Many good books list national scholarship and grant opportunities. You will probably not find all of these sources in any one location, and you will find others that you consider to be good. This list includes several “starting point” suggestions:

     

    • Getting Financial Aid Handbook, www.collegeboard.com
    • Funding Education Beyond High School:  The Guide to Federal Student Aid.  Student Financial Aid Programs, P.O. Box 84, Washington, DC 20202.  Or call 1-800-4ee-3243. Also available on-line at http://studentaid.ed.gov/students/publications/student_guide/index.html
    • Don’t Miss Out: The Ambitious Student’s Guide to Financial Aid, Anna Leider and Robert Leider, Octameron, Alexandria, Virginia
    • Financial Aid for Minorities, Garrett Park Press
    • The Scholarship Book by Daniel Cassidy
    • Free Money for College by Laurie Blum
    • Kaplan Scholarships 2009 Edition: Billions of Dollars in Free Money for College by Kaplan
    • The A’s and B’s of Academic Scholarships by Octameron Press
    • Cash for College. The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), 1920 L Street, NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC. Available on-line at http://nasfaa.org/AnnualPubs/cashforcollege.pdf
    • Meeting College Costs. A College Scholarship Service publication available in your guidance office. Or write College Scholarship Service, the College Board, 45 Columbus Ave., New York, NY 10023. www.collegeboard.org
     
    This list has been compiled from many different sources and is not intended to be a comprehensive listing.

     

    Internet Connections

     

    Many web sites can provide information about scholarships, grants, and financial aid. Students should check the web pages of all colleges to which they are applying and be sure they have followed all of the financial aid offices’ instructions about applying for financial aid.

     

      Last Modified on December 3, 2014