Understanding the FAFSA and CSS Profile
Want to apply for Financial Aid but not sure where to start? Join CollegeAdvisor Admissions Expert, Ashly Cargle-Thompson, as she provides an overview of the FAFSA and CSS Profile and how you can apply for them. The webinar will start with a 30-minute presentation and end with a 30-minute live Q&A. Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
2022-09-19 – Understanding the FAFSA & CSS Profile
Hi, everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar on Understanding the FAFSA and CSS Profile. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with the presentation. Then answer your questions on the live Q&A on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start submitting your questions on the Q&A tab.
Now let’s meet our panelist. Hi everyone. Thanks for joining us tonight. My name is Ashly Cargle-Thompson. I am a former admissions officer here at CollegeAdvisor and also the co or actually no, I’m the team lead for the financial aid team here. Um, I’ve been in financial aid and admissions, um, the better part of a decade.
So one of my favorite things about the work that I do in financial aid is helping students and families demystify the entire process. A lot of what makes it stressful is that we don’t know what we have to do when we have to do it. And most importantly, why we have to do it. So, uh, in today’s presentation, we’re going to go through the FAFSA and the CSS profile, which are the two primary administrative documents that you need to fill out, um, to get a financial aid package and we’ll go through what they are when you have to do it and what sorts of things you can expect as you’re filling it out. So let’s get started.
Yes, we have. real quick. We’re just gonna ask, what grade are you in? Eighth, ninth, 10th, 11th, 12th, or other. And other can be if you’re a gap year student or, uh, transfer student. And if you’re a parent on call, you can select the grade that your student is going into.
And while we wait for that, Ashly, how long does it take to complete the financial aid process? You know, it really depends on how complicated your personal financial situation is, but what I can say that the best way to streamline it and ensure that it’s happens as quickly as possible, uh, is to make sure that you have all of the materials you would need before you get started.
So we’ll go through what materials you’ll need for both the FAFSA and the CSS profile. But that’s the big thing. If you have all of that in a good sense of how either of those applications work, then, um, I’ve helped families get through the FAFSA, um, in under an hour. Uh, so it can take under an hour. It can take about an hour, um, CSS profiles a little bit longer.
Uh, you might wanna expect around an hour and a half to two hours cause they ask a little, a few more questions. Mm-hmm so it’s looking like we have 4% 10th graders, 25% 11th graders, 64% 12th graders making up the majority and 7%. Great. And you can control the. It’s fantastic. Um, so for all of my 12th graders who are here, this is super, super critical information, uh, because the FAFSA and the CSS profile are going to open in the next couple of weeks.
But for everyone else, all of the. This information will be applicable. Um, as far as we know, when you are getting ready to complete the FAFSA and the CSS profile, so you can absolutely, uh, listen to some of this stuff and it should be able to help you. And it’ll allow you to kind of get, um, a head start so that you can leave your fall when it is your senior year to, uh, really focus on your applications.
So, first we’re gonna start with the FAFSA. Uh, the FAFSA is something that I’m sure you’ve heard of. Uh, it stands for free application for federal student aid. So what that means is that the FAFSA is just an online document that you are filling out to apply for federal student aid. That means that some people are not going to be eligible, uh, because.
Federal aid is not available to all people. So DACA, undocumented students, international students are, are typically not eligible. Um, it also means that you are not committing to anything nor is the department of education committing anything to you. They are just asking you for information so that they can calculate your eligibility for federal aid.
So the main purpose of the FAFSA is to summarize your income and predict your ability to pay that is all included in what we call an EFC. And that’s your Estimated Family Contribution. So all of the information that you’re gonna input into the FAFSA is going to be calculated to determine how much your family can afford to contribute that number will help them determine.
Whether you’re eligible for federal grants and loans. Um, if, even if they’re not need based, um, it’ll still help identify eligibility for grants and loans, and then it can also help, um, identify institutional need based funding, but it doesn’t, uh, set the scale by itself for institutional funding, but for federal grants, federal loans, all of that, the FAFSA is going to be the thing that determines that, like I said, uh, us citizens or eligible non-citizens.
So usually, uh, students who have green cards are eligible to apply, uh, for federal aid, um, DACA undocumented and international students are not eligible for FAFSA, but there is eligibility through the CSS profile. So we’ll get to that a little bit later in the session. So the materials that you’re gonna need for FAFSA, again, they’re asking you for information to determine your eligibility and your financial need when it comes to affording college.
So obviously they’re going to ask you for financial documentation, but before you even get there, you are required to complete an FAFSA ID. And the FAFSA ID is basically a, um, it ends up acting as a digital signature, both the parent and the students need to have their own FAFSA IDs. Separate email addresses.
Uh, the way that this will end up working is that you’ll end up getting an FAFSA ID number. And that’s what you’ll use to sign the FAFSA when you complete it and are ready to submit it. Um, in order to get your FAFSA ID you will need to provide some information like your social security number, um, or your alien registration number, full name, date of birth, a lot of biographical details, because the whole purpose of the FAFSA ID is to confirm your identity.
So that, that digital signature is, um, acceptable. Um, when it comes time to, oh, and the other thing you can create your FAFSA ID today. Um, there is no time that you have to wait, even if you’re a 10th grader, you can com complete your FAFSA ID today. You’ll have to remember your login and all of that for a couple of years.
So I don’t necessarily recommend it, but that is something that if you’re a senior and you’re like, I don’t know where to start. That is an easy task that you’ll be able to start today and that your parents can get done today. So that’s one thing you can check off for the FAFSA. Uh, you will need similar materials.
You’ll still need to know your social security number or alien registration number. You’ll also need your 2020 tax returns and W2’s um, you might need bank statements and investment records, um, and also records of untaxed or un-taxable income. And obviously, like we said, your FAFSA ID. So all of these, um, tax documents, ideally you will be able to upload them directly from.
IRS dot go. So if you have filed your 2020 tax returns, um, the IRS has those in their system and the FAFSA allows you to briefly leave the FAFSA application, go to irs.gov, pull your documentation over, and then it will auto fill. So you don’t have to go through the hassle of tracking down and filling each field, um, that they’re asking for that doesn’t always work for everyone.
If you have really complicated taxes, sometimes I’ve heard with students, who’ve gotten families, who’ve gotten extensions. It doesn’t always come over. Um, so you do want to be prepared with those tax, do tax documents. So if you have ’em on TurboTax or if you had somebody prepare your taxes, do have them with you in the event that you have to manually fill in some of the financial data that they’re asking for.
um, if you don’t have, if some of these things are not applicable to you, investment records, um, even some people don’t have bank statements. Um, if they are unbanked , um, then you don’t have to have them, but you will need to provide additional information as to why you don’t have them. Um, so just be prepared for that.
You should also know that all of these things that I’ve listed, you want to have all of that information for both the parent slash guardian and the student, you will both be asked to provide information on your finances. So even if you have, if you’re a student and you work 10 hours a month at the local ice cream parlor, if they’re paying you, um, then you’re gonna need to report that and you’re gonna need to report, um, your tax, your taxable earnings.
So, what can you expect once you get into the FAFSA? Once you’ve already filled out your FAFSA ID you have all of your information, all of your documentation, what are they gonna ask you for? Um, we’re gonna go through this section by section and there’s about six main sections on the FAFSA, um, that you can expect six or.
So the first thing is they’re gonna ask the, for the student’s biographical information. So again, name, contact information, social security number, driver’s license number. Um, this is part of where people start to get turned off with the FAFSA, because you just had to supply that information for your FAFSA ID.
And so I can totally understand why you would think, like, if I have an FAFSA ID and that’s a verified identity, why do I have to fill this in now? Um, you just do, it’s a separate document than the FAFSA ID. Um, and so you are gonna have to fill that out. They’ll ask you about your education and your degree.
So what degree are you hoping, um, to enroll in degree program? Will you be enrolling in next fall? Um, it will also ask about your parent or guardians education, and then you’ll see a question called. Effective service. So what selective service is, is actually that question, if you identify as female and your records show that, um, then you can skip it.
If you identify as male and your documentation shows that you are going to have to answer the selective service, uh, question, which is basically, um, a federal rule that says that if you accept any males who accept federal aid, um, will have to also volunteer for selective service in the event that there’s a draft.
Did you wanna? Yes. So the selective service is no longer required for anyone anymore. Great. Yeah. Awesome. Good. Thank you for that McKenzie. So, yeah. Okay. So you don’t have to answer the selective service part, which is wonderful, um, student financial information. So again, the last for your income tax returns, your 1040’s, which is your, identify your adjusted gross income. So that’s your, um, income minus your any deductions, uh, your tax earnings investments. Um, they might ask for cash balances, untaxed income, all of that. Again, if you’re a student and you’re like, I have none of this, then you can go ahead and either insert zero where that’s appropriate or in some places it’s just appropriate to skip to the next thing.
And the instructions will be very clear on what you need to do there. They’ll also ask you about your student dependency status. Um, and so that’s determining whether or not you should, they should be reading your FAFSA as an independent, or if you are. A dependent of your parents, if they identify your dependency, status is as an independent and you are a student that means that you do not have to claim your parents or guardians financials as your own.
You can just use your own. If you are identified to be a dependent, then you’re gonna have to have your parents fill out this next section so that they can look at your parents’ finances and factor that into what your estimated family contribution is going to be. So they’re trying to determine whether or not you’ve been award of the state, whether or not you’re emancipated.
Um, if you have experienced homelessness, uh, depending on your situation that might make you eligible to apply as an independent. So that’s a really important section. Um, especially if you are not quite sure whether or not your parents’, um, income is going to impact your aid package or whether or not you can kind of separate your aid from their income.
Next, if you are determined to be dependent, then you have, there will be a parent and guardian information. So they’ll ask all the same questions as the student info section plus, uh, they will ask for parental federal benefit status. So meaning if there are any federal benefits, um, WIC, um, any sort of, um, federal disability programs, any.
um, federal federally funded social service programs that you might be receiving that the parents might be receiving. They need to report those there, uh, residency status also. And then there’s a section where you can identify, um, whether or not you should have dislocated worker, uh, status, which is basically identifying your employment status and where you are with that.
If you are unemployed, um, the next section is going to be student household information. And so what they want to know there is who all is in the household. Are any of those people enrolled in college? Um, they will also in that section, it’s strange that they do it there, but they’ll ask about the student’s federal benefit status.
If they have one. I think the reason that they do that there is because all students aren’t gonna be dependent. So they’re not gonna always have, uh, the parents’ information there. Um, they’ll also ask about your dislocated worker status in that section. The reason that they want to know all of that is that it really does impact your, their, um, formula for identifying need.
So if two households are completely equal in every other way, Except for one household has four kids in college and one household has no kids except for the one applying in college that will impact their formula and determining need, because they’re going to determine that the household with all of the kids in college, uh, has less exhaustible, um, income to spend on this next kid going to college.
Uh, and then the final section is where you sign, send and date it. So the very first, the like last, really big thing before you sign it with your Fs, a I D number is to identify which schools you want for, you want your FAFSA to be sent to. So all of the schools on your college list, um, are the ones that you’ll want to identify.
I don’t think you need to probably identify more than 10 at this point. Um, if you have more than that, you can always go back in and request that scores be sent to another school, but basically your top 10 is what you want to have your FAFSA sent to. Um, then they’ll ask for the students sent signature using the student’s FAFSA ID number, then the parent guardian signature, if applicable, um, to their FAFSA ID number.
And then if you had any help, um, there are some families and some, uh, certified kind of preparers that can do this sort of work. Uh, if you had any help, that’s also where you would put the preparers information. If you didn’t have help, then you can skip it. Um, finally, where do you find the FAFSA? It’s really easy.
It’s www.fafsa.gov. Um, that will also take you to the, the site. That’ll allow you to create an FAFSA ID, so you’ll get there and it will say, is this your first time? Do you have an FAFSA ID if you don’t, then you can click a button. It’ll take you to your FAFSA ID, and it’ll walk you through it. Also at www.FAFSA.gov.
They have a ton of resources, um, to help further explain the process. They even have step by step walkthroughs and videos that you can watch if you’re more of a visual learner.
So now we have the CSS, uh, before I get into the CSS, I wanna talk a little bit about the differences between the FAFSA and the CSS. First of all, all. Colleges and universities require students to eligible students to complete the FAFSA. Um, maybe I can’t say all, but the vast majority of them make that a requirement of your enrollment and not just as a freshman, you need to continue to complete the FAFSA every year that you’re in college.
It’s easier after your freshman year, because you can kind of renew it and just answer a few questions or they’ll say, has anything really changed? No. Okay. Like upload new materials and you can keep it moving. Um, but you will need to do that every year. Um, the other thing that is different about the FAFSA is that it is a static questionnaire, meaning that no matter how you answer some questions, new questions won’t appear.
Everybody answers the same list of questions. And you just either fill in you either fill in zeros or blanks if they don’t apply to you. Um, The FAFSA is free. You should not pay to submit the FAFSA. So if you find yourself on a site, that’s telling you to pay $49.99 to complete the FAFSA for free or, or quickly or something like that, you don’t need to do that.
It is free at www.fafsa.gov and actually any place. There are other routes to get to the FAFSA, but if it does not have.gov after it, then find one that has.gov. Some of these are privately owned sites that are trying to get you to pay for FAFSA prep preparation, and you, you really won’t need it. Um, the CSS profile is kind of like a common app for institutional awards.
So colleges and institutions. Have their own pots of money. Some of it, if you go to a state school might be state funded. Um, some of it might be, um, funded by private donors. They have a lot of different ways to give you money. They have a lot of them have merit awards available, or some of them have scholarships that don’t really have so much to do with merit, but have more to do with academic interests or academic, um, like what majors you are want to go in.
And some of them are just based on parts of your biographical history. It might be based on geography, meaning like, where are you coming from? If they’re really trying to get kids from a certain part of the country, um, it might have to do with, um, your. Race or ethnicity. Sometimes there are dollars earmarked for students for underrepresented communities.
Um, so it runs the entire gamut. So there are some schools, not all schools that choose to participate in the CSS profile program, they partner schools. And basically what they’re doing with this profile with this application is that you are able to fill in everything all at once and have that information sent out to whichever schools are on your college list and are participating.
Um, and that allows the schools to have additional information. Um, in addition to your FAFSA, to help match you with any additional funds that they might have that are sponsored by them. Um, so. Funding that you could get from CSS again could be merit based scholarships, non merit based scholarships. Um, it could be need based scholarships and grants, and it could also be loans and need based loans.
The final difference is that international students, DACA, undocumented students are eligible for CSS funds with a caveat at the CSS website, um, on the college board’s website, there is a listing of all of the partner schools, and it identifies whether or not this the any particular school has the CSS profile for international students, meaning that they have funding available for international students.
If you are an international student and, uh, one of your schools. Is not listed as a CSS international partner. That means that they are not going to have funding earmarked specifically for you as an international student, or that they might not accept scholarship applications for an international student.
So if you see that don’t necessarily give up and mark that school off the list, I would say contact their admissions department, um, to get more clarification, meaning, okay, can I not complete the CSS because I’m international and there’s not funding for me, or can I not complete the CSS because, or are you not an international partner because, um, yeah, you don’t have specific funding for international students, but I might be eligible for other funding.
You just wanna be clear on what you can get and how you might be able to get it. All right. So the materials that you’ll need for the CSS profile are very similar, um, to the FAFSA, except for the fact that, like I said, the FAFSA, if you are a senior this year and looking to enter college in fall 2023, you would be completing the FAFSA based on your 2020 tax documents.
Um, the CSS wants more current tax documents and, um, financial information than that. So they’ll actually say 2021 is ideal. So they’ll take what they have from the, um, from the FAFSA. And then they’ll ask you for more current information. So you’ll wanna have two years of the two, most recent years of your tax, um, documents as well as income records.
The FAFSA doesn’t require you. Upload income records, but the CSS profile does want to see a record of your income, whether that is pay stubs, bank balances, um, you’ll have a list of things that are acceptable to show proof of income. Um, there are also, um, you’ll also need to have a college board account, um, which most of you, if you’re taking the SAT would already have, if you took SAT or PSAT, you already have that.
Um, and they will want, um, you’ll wanna have a debit/credit card on hand because the CSS does cost money. There’s a $25. Initial application fee. And with that initial application means that you fill in on that profile, um, is paid for and will be sent to one school. Every school. After that, in addition to that one school is $16 a piece.
Um, if we’ll get into, um, how to pay for it, but you do want a credit card or debit card on hand, and then you should also know that some colleges require both biological parents. Um, if divorced, they’re separated to complete the CSS profile, however, there is a non-custodial parent waiver. So if both parents aren’t able to complete it, there’s a waiver that can be filled out.
Um, that allows only one parent to complete it.
So the sections of the CSS profile, they differ a little bit from the FAFSA. So the first difference is like right at the front. Um, and that is, they’re gonna ask for your expected resources. So what they’re trying to determine is how much of your, how much family support do you estimate that self-determined?
So that’s a conversation that you’ll need to have with your family in terms of how much funding you can expect from your family. Um, and then they’ll ask for the same things, the tax returns, 1040 adjusted, gross income. All of that from the FAFSA, but remember you’re gonna want 2021 as well on hand in order to do that, um, they will ask there’s a section for college program and search.
So this is where you’re making that list. Um, for the schools, that’ll be that the CSS, uh, profile will be sent to. Um, and you do wanna make sure that you’re thinking really carefully about whether or not where a school ranks on your college list, if it’s lower on your college list. And you’re kind of feeling financial stress about, wow, this is a lot of application of fees, and now I have to pay $16, then be really intentional about whether or not, um, it’s worth it to apply to the CSS school, if it’s way at the bottom.
And it’s a throwaway, you might not. You might not want to do it. Um, but that’s something that your advisor can absolutely help you figure out. Um, next I’ll ask for parent and guardian assets. So again, the same sorts of things that you would find on the FAFSA, but then they’re also going to go into things like home value and current equity in your home value because they want to understand.
How much, um, how much you have in assets and that will help them identify your institutional need. Um, the wonderful thing about it is that most schools will look at like 5% of your home equity and they will count that into, um, against your, your need. So if you have a $300,000 house, they’re not gonna say, okay, well they have assets of $300,000.
Apply that to the money that they don’t need. They’re only gonna take 5% of that and apply it. Some schools will apply, apply all of your home equity. So parents, if you’re on this, um, I don’t expect students to fully understand that, but parents, if you’re on this webinar, um, it’s important to know how that’s being factored in.
Especially if you feel like the value of your home is not an accurate reflection of what your day to day finances are. Um, you might feel like the CSS profile is. A lot more tedious and a lot more, no invasive than the FAFSA. And it is it at 100% is they want to get all in your business. But for good reason, like I’ve mentioned before, the FAFSA is very static.
And so their formula for determining need is really clunky. They’re trying to take not that many questions when you think about it and mash that all into some sort of narrative and say, okay, based on this information and our very clunky general formula, this is what you can pay, can afford to pay. And also we’re gonna use taxes from two years ago that doesn’t for a lot of families, especially now, especially kind of in the pandemic.
What happened two years ago is just not a reflection of what’s going on today. And sometimes our taxes tell a story that our day to day bank balances don’t. So the CSS asking you for this additional information means that they want to know right now, what is your family’s financial context? Can you afford to go here without help?
If you need help, how much help do you need? So it really is for good reason that they’re asking for this, um, both schools are need blind, um, or a growing list of schools are need blind, which means that they are not going to look at any of these financial, any of this financial data that you’re submitting and make their admissions decisions based on that.
Um, so if you’re concerned that. Okay. You know, for whatever reason, I don’t think that the information I put on my CSS profile, um, gives me a really great shot of getting financial aid here or of getting in here. Then double check with the admissions office, figure out whether or not their need blind or need aware and ask them what that means for financial aid packages.
Um, but either way, the more information that you’re providing, the more realistic of an understanding they’ll have of your family’s day to day finances, which means that the likelihood of getting a financial aid package that actually gets you somewhere is, is much higher than if it was just the FAFSA that you were relying on.
So the next section is parent guardian expenses. A lot of that is similar to the same kind of information you filled in again with the FAFSA, but they’ll ask additional questions about child support. If you, the parent or guardian has finance has student loans that you’re still paying off, they’ll even ask about medical or dental expenses out of pocket.
And if you can provide documentation that you’ve paid a significant amount of your income toward medical or dental expenses, um, they’ll also again, ask about the educational expenses for a sibling, so they don’t just want to know, are you and are, do you have other kids in college or do you have siblings in college, but.
How expensive is it for you right now? So again, these are good questions to help them get to what your situation really is. Um, the student data section is really going to be about your academic information. So what degree program are you interested in? Uh, what external scholarships and grants have you already secured?
Uh, what is your depend? It’ll help you identify your dependency status much like the FAFSA. Um, it’ll also, um, allow you to answer any questions about homelessness, foster care, all of you who complete the, the CSS profile will not see all of these questions. So the CSS profile, unlike the FAFSA is predictive, which means that depending on how you answer this question, you may or may not see some other questions.
So don’t, don’t panic. If you start the CSS profile and some of this stuff that I’m talking about, doesn’t show up. It just means that for whatever reason, You were, you were already kind of moved beyond that question and it wasn’t relevant to you, so they allow you to skip it. Um, the next section is going to be student assets.
So again, that’s gonna be all information you’ve already answered in the FAFSA all documentation that you’ve already provided for the FAFSA, but you also need to have it for 2021. And then again, they’re gonna go back to your family member, how many members, how many people are in the household, um, and then identify additional expenses related to those family members.
So if you have a sibling or a grandparent who lives with you, who requires round the clock, medical care, that’s where you would talk about something like that and be able to, uh, list those types of things. Um, also another place where you can talk about additional expenses that aren’t otherwise covered in kind of the.
Typical financial expense breakdown is the special circumstances section. So this is a section where if something is that is not reflected in any of your documentation has happened, that is significantly, significantly impacting your day to day finances. This is where you can talk about it. So that could be something like the loss of a job.
Um, a long term illness of an someone who, um, of an income earner for the household. Um, I’ve had students who have had to submit or families who’ve had to write, um, about special circumstances. Who’ve lost their homes to fires and things like that. Those are all good things to talk about. Um, if you feel like, okay, this is another thing, um, Then finally you’ll have supplemental questions.
So like I said, the CSS profile is designed for partner schools to determine your eligibility for funds, that they have. Some of those funds are gonna be restricted to students who have, who meet a very specific profile. So some schools might have donors who were in the anthropology apart department who loved their time at the university, were interested in biological anthropology and they are from Akron, Ohio.
The CSS profile in the supplemental questions will be able to determine actually you wouldn’t even have to get that far because all the other sections, they would’ve been able to determine you’re from macro, Ohio. Oh, you wanna major in anthropology? Oh, you have a special interest in biological anthropology.
We’re gonna give you that. Um, but there might be people, there might be a scholarship for students who have appeared in. Regional community theater, something that just like wouldn’t show up anywhere else on that. The supplemental questions will ask that. So depending on what schools you listed earlier, you will also have some supplemental questions based on whatever other funding they have that they wanna see whether or not you match with.
So it’s important to complete those supplemental questions. And if they’re kind of short answers or anything like that, be as detailed as you possibly can. The more detail you give them, the more likely you are to match with additional funds. Um, The next part will be the payment screen and that’s when you can pay the total cost for all copies, um, sent to school.
So actually it’s up to eight schools. So you’re gonna have to pick your top eight, not your top 10, um, to submit the CSS profile. This is also where you could apply for a fee waiver. So if the $25 plus $16 per additional school is steep, you can apply for a fee waiver. If you’re trying to determine would I, should I try or should I not baseline?
Is that if the family income is $40,000 or lower, you can be pretty confident that the waiver will be granted. If you’re in that you should still apply for the waiver. Uh, because again, if you have extenuating circumstances that are not otherwise reflected, that can be, um, you might still be able to get those funds waived.
So, um, you can find the CSS profile at cssprofile.collegeboard.org. Like I said, if you have taken the SATs registered for the SATs or PSATs, you already have a collegeboard account, so you should have the login information and you should just be able to start the CSS profile from there. And they’ll start to ask you the biographical questions that they need to get your CSS profile set up.
This is also where you can go to see the listing of schools, um, that are CSS, uh, partner schools. So that’s the first thing you’re gonna wanna do, especially for the seniors who are developing their college lists.
So the deadlines for the FAFSA and CSS profile, um, We’ll actually start with, when can you submit the CSS profile? Both the FAFSA and CSS profile open on October 1st. So as of October 1st, you’ll be able to access these applications and start filling them out. Um, in terms of when you have to have them done by that varies from school to school, it also depends on how you are applying.
So if you’re applying early decision early action for something you wanna be on top of this on October. You wanna have it out of the way and be done. Um, if you are applying for regular admissions, sometimes the deadlines to get your fast CSS, um, profile could be a little bit later, but every single school has their own deadline.
They said it. So you want to make sure that you know, that if you have some sort of document with your college lists on it, have a, um, add a couple more, um, columns, one to identify the FAFSA due date and one to identify the CSS due date. If they are a CSS partner school at all, just to keep things, um, streamlined for you.
I usually recommend that, um, if you’re not applying ED or, um, EA that you have a self-imposed deadline no later than November 15th, don’t try to. Yeah, try and get it in as soon as you possibly can. So that as you’re finishing up your applications, you can really focus on your essays and the other parts of, of that process.
Yeah. So now we’re gonna ask another question. So where are you in the application process? Haven’t started, I’m researching schools. I’m working on my essays. I’m getting my application materials together, or if you’re really like I’m almost done. And also there was a question in the chat, um, this October 1st, 2022, um, Uh, application opening is for the 2023 to 2024 school year.
So most likely for the current seniors, that will be the year you’re applying to, since that will be your first year of college, most likely. Um, and there will also be an option to apply for the 2022 to 2023 application. You, you won’t need to click that one, just click the right ear. um, but yeah, uh, so real quick, what can parents start doing now in order to prepare for the financial aid process?
So like I said, pulling all of your materials together can be really helpful. Just making sure that you have a file with all of that documentation, whether it’s a digital file or an actual physical hard copy of your tax information. Having all of that at hand will make the process go much more quickly.
Um, and then the other part of it is that if you still feel nervous again, like if you’re a visual person and you just really want to see what it is that you’re gonna have to do, see what it looks like. Both the FAFSA and CSS profile have pretty robust resources and walkthroughs of the applications. So at the, at the CSS profile website that we provided, um, you can also find their kind of educational, CSS profile prep, um, materials.
So those are a couple of things. Get eyes on the, on the documents and on the applications early, if you have any anxiety about kind of starting at site unseen, and then also make sure that you have all of your materials pulled. Oh, and also with those selective service question, it is still going to be on the application.
Um, it’s just the difference now is that for biological males, when ask you that questions you can select no, and it won’t affect your chances of getting federal aid before if you select it, no, you would more than likely jeopardize your chances, but now it just doesn’t matter. Um, but it’s looking like we have 17%, haven’t started 27% are researching schools. 30% are working on their essays. 22% are getting their application materials together. And 5%, the lucky you are almost done that 5% you are on top of the world. It’s gonna be a nice fall for you.
so. Here we go. Okay. So this was a very broad overview of the CSS profile and the FAFSA. And so, uh, naturally we expect that you’re gonna have more questions about those two processes, as well as the financial aid process as a whole. Um, we didn’t in this webinar, didn’t get into the difference between a loan and a grant and a scholarship.
Um, we didn’t get into a lot of the nuances of financial aid. However, there are financial aid webinars that do get into that. So, um, there already saved and in our webinar library. Um, but if you still have questions after looking through all of the materials, there are still a couple of resources available to you to give you sort of more, um, Personalized support.
One is college counselors. If, um, you have a college counseling office, chances are that your college counselor can at least give you, um, some information and additional support and answer more questions about the FAFSA or the CSS profile. I know that some schools, um, the college counselor will actually like walk families through another plug just based on my own volunteer work is that, um, at least in Atlanta, but I think they do this nationally the United way.
Uh, does FAFSA, uh, workshop days where financial aid professionals will come to a community high school. Um, and basically we sit in a room. Help students help families complete the FAFSA. It’s like a FAFSA on. Um, so if you want a guided, uh, completion, um, for your FAFSA, then there are organizations that offer that type of thing.
So your college counselor might also know about those sorts of resources. Um, your other resource is the CollegeAdvisor, financial aid team. Uh, we offer one-on-one consultations. Um, our team is made of current and former financial aid officers. Who’ve worked at all levels of financial aid. And so our pros, um, but one of the things that we offer is, uh, FAFSA, uh, walkthrough.
We also offer a CSS profile walkthrough, meaning that during that meeting. We will ask you to share your screen and we will walk you through completing the application. Uh, we try and keep it to one hour. So if you have an especially complicated case, um, we’ll get you as far as you can, as we can, but some families absolutely have cases where you can walk out of that walkthrough, um, with your FAFSA submitted, uh, and ready to go.
So if you are interested in taking advantage of one of those walkthroughs, then you can get more information on how to schedule a one on one, um, from your advisor.
And finally , um, in terms of like advice that I would give just overall for financial aid. Um, and particularly when you’re thinking about, um, the CSS profile. The FAFSA, all of that is that no matter what you do, you wanna position yourself so that you’re operating from a place of choice. So that means that even if your family does a preliminary uses a EFC calculator and your family finds that, okay, we are not gonna get any need based aid.
You still want to apply and submit your FAFSA one because it’s required. But two, because the FAFSA can still identify help you help schools and organizations identify eligibility, even if it’s not related to need most schools that have even merit based scholarships, want your FAFSA. And if you don’t submit your FAFSA, then they will consider that like your tacit, um, tacitly, like removing yourself from that applicant pool.
And I can say that from my own experience, if we are going through, um, And giving out scholarships. And I want to see what a, what a student’s profile looks like. And I see that they haven’t submitted a FAFSA. I might email them once to say, Hey, we need your FAFSA, but if they’re not responsive, or if they say I don’t plan on submitting it, I’m not gonna fight with that student.
I’m just gonna take them out of the running. So please know that you give yourself the best opportunity to operate from a place of choice by completing these documents and turning them in. Don’t come don’t draw conclusions based on, um, your initial EFC. Um, it also means that you want to be thinking about the cost of the schools that you’re applying to and making sure that you have schools that are covering the entire range of costs so that once admissions decisions start rolling in, you’re not.
Completely worried about what your financial aid package is, because you also know that you have some awesome schools that are pretty affordable for you, um, or that are more affordable for you. Um, so as you’re going through this, as you’re filling out external applications, external scholarship applications, as you’re choosing your schools, remember that the best thing you can do is avoid feeling ruled by your financial circumstances, um, and set yourself up so that you have multiple options, multiple choices, and that you’re not leaving any money on the table.
Okay. Now we have time for questions and answers. Yes. So that is the end of the presentation part of the webinar. I hope you find this information helpful and remember that you can download the site and link in the handout tab and this webinar is being recorded. If you’ll like to view it again, later on our website at app.CollegeAdvisor.com/webinars, uh, those links and some other links and information are listed in the public chat.
Um, moving on to the live Q&A I’ll read your questions. You submit in the Q&A tab and read them a lot before our panelist gives you an answer as a heads up. If your Q&A tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, just make sure that you join the webinar through the custom links into your email and not from the webinar landing page.
Also known as the website or else you won’t get all the peaches of big marker. So just make sure you join to that custom link now onto the Q&A. Okay. So I’m seeing a repeating question just to get the out the way, um, when putting. Uh, on the CSS profile and ask for the value of your home, is that going off of the value when you purchased it or, um, what it is worth now off of like Zillow and stuff.
So it’s gonna go off of your equity. So it’s going to be the amount that you’ve purchased minus the amount that you’ve, um, paid toward it. So they’re looking to see, um, so you don’t need to go to Zillow. You can look at, um, whatever it is that you paid for it. Um, and that’s what they’re going to use. Um, they usually give you pretty good, um, instructions.
I don’t know if they’ve changed the language or changed the documentation that they’re willing to accept for, um, home equity, especially now with this housing, boom, like that can really probably throw some people off, um, because housing properties have risen so much. Um, so that. A great question, but usually it’s based on what you pay for it.
Mm-hmm uh, going on to the next question, um, are the CSS profile and FAFSA just for needs based financial aid? No. So even the FAFSA, even though the main purpose of it is to determine it’s to determine your eligibility for federal aid period. So for instance, um, depending on what your EFC is, you might be offered a federal direct loan, which has nothing to do with your need outside of the fact that if your family’s scored so high and they said your family can afford to pay everything out of pocket, they might not offer you that loan, but there are small loans that have nothing to do with need that are kind of blanket offered to the vast majority of college, uh, students.
Um, also merit based awards are sometimes, um, determined through the FAFSA program. So national merit scholars are pu pulled from a pool of students who have submitted their FAFSA. So there’s a lot more than just need going into whether or not a student is going to get a national merit award. Um, the CSS profile, absolutely not.
I would say that the CSS profile is, um, probably about half and half. They are gonna see if you are eligible for any of the institutional need based aid that they have. But most of the schools on the CSS profile are pretty prestigious private schools that have endowments, which means that they have endowed scholarship dollars, which are those restricted scholarships that I talked about where donors or organizations came in and said, we want this kind of student.
And the reason that they participate in that program is that it streamlines the process for them for matching those endowed dollars with the right students. Mm-hmm and the, um, FAFSA also helps you get the federal P grant, which is, um, not alone, uh, for a student that was asking about it, does help get, um, non loan money.
Um, and then, uh, some scholar, some outside scholarships also ask for FAFSA, um, depending on the program, uh, kind of in state funding yes. In state funding. So a lot of states have their own scholarship programs that if you are a resident of that state and you attend a college within that state, sometimes it doesn’t even have to be a public college that you are eligible to receive certain grants, um, or a scholar.
And again, the major qualifying, uh, factor there is your residents. It’s not your need. Uh, going on to the next question. Can you submit the FAFSA and I’ll just add in CSS, um, before submitting the common app to colleges, or do you wait until you submit your application and then apply for financial aid, uh, apply for financial aid now?
Um, the good news about the FAFSA and the CSS profile is that you only have to fill it out once, but the CSS profile, especially because you have to, because they have, um, because they have supplemental questions based on the schools that you want to go to. Um, you need to make sure that you have that school list set.
Um, but I would still say send them out as soon as you can. Don’t intentionally delay it. Um, if your common app gets out before your FAFSA CSS profile, it’s not the end of the world. if your CSS profile in FAFSA, get out before they have your application, the schools will still hold on your information and set you up in their financial aid systems.
And then they’ll just wait for that. A admissions application to arrive mm-hmm . And for any student interested in applying to any of the Ivy leagues, you will have to do the CSS profile. All of the Ivy leagues are on it. It is comprised of about 300 something, ish, private schools. So no public schools are on it from what I found out.
And so, um, it’s just private schools, all of the Ivys are on it. Um, so yeah, just keep that in mind as you’re looking at these schools, um, okay. Going on to the next question, when should families begin the financial aid process? So you can start it now. Um, like I said, you can tonight go and create your FAFSA IDs for both the parent and the student.
I saw another question where. Um, yes, parents need to have their own FAFSA ID attached to their email addresses. Students need to have one attached to their email addresses. You can go and do that tonight and you can go. And if you haven’t, don’t already have a college board account, you can go and create your college board account tonight.
Um, so if you only took the acts, um, and haven’t taken the SATs, then you would need to create one. Um, so you can get started with that immediately. Again, like I also said, um, both of the websites we provided you with have additional resources, so you can go through walkthrough videos, um, and get yourself acquainted with the actual applications and pull all of your materials together so that when October 1 rolls around you are ready to just get things going.
So that’s what I would suggest for if you’re a senior. Um, if you’re prior to that, you can again create your FAFSA ID and create your college board accounts, but you’ll just have to remember all those logins. So, I don’t know that you necessarily need to do it. I would actually say that your time is better spent researching financial aid options and opportunities.
Understanding what schools you’re interested in and understanding how their financial aid works, understanding how, what their cost of attendance attendances more or less instead of worrying about FAFSA CSS. Right now, if you are an 11th grader, 10th grader or younger, just understand how, how financial aid works, understand how much college costs understand how it gets paid for.
Um, and then you can dig into the actual of CSS and FAFSA, um, in your senior year. Yes. And I recommend with those FAFSA IDs, parents and students keep track of both of y’all’s, um, IDs, passwords, everything connected to it. Um, because with my family situation, my brother went to college before me. And I didn’t realize that you used the same FAFSA ID um, every single year, um, school year. Okay. Um, I’ll get to that question, but, um, and it made it a lot harder because my mom had to resubmit her information and it was like a lot of mess. So just keep track of that, um, record. It just makes everything a lot easier. And a student is asking if you create the FAFSA ID does it require you to choose a school year?
Um, next school year’s application isn’t open yet. It’s if you create it now, you don’t need to click your school year until you actually start working on the application. You click the school year. When you start working on the application, you can make your ID without starting the actual application. If that makes.
And then one thing, I don’t know that I mentioned it, but you have to submit the facet annually while you’re in college. I did mention that, but you also have to do that with the CSS profile. So that’s even more, a reason that once you can create these accounts, that you keep track of your login information, because you’re gonna have to keep coming back to it.
Yes. And you might get lucky in a 10 Cornell University who does not ask you to submit CSS every year, just pass. So look at those schools, financial aid processes, as you’re doing it. Uh, going up to the next question, how does CollegeAdvisor help with the financial aid process? How does the financial aid review team help with the financial aid process?
Sure. So we really want our financial aid team really wants to make, um, the financial aid one on ones like tailor them to your priorities. Uh, so we can’t cover the entire scope of a financial aid in one, one hour meeting. You’re welcome to. Um, schedule more than one, but those hours are deducted from your package.
So you wanna be mindful of that. Um, but when you go to sign up for a financial aid, one on one, there’s a pretty robust little questionnaire that you fill out as part of the registration process that asks you to identify your top three priorities. Um, and that goes everywhere from, again, the walkthroughs that I talk to, um, overviews of FAFSA CSS, helping you identify a budget and understanding like net costs and demystifying that entire situation.
Um, we also help after the financial aid packages come out. So some families feel really good about getting the FAFSA and getting all the financial aid, um, Applications in, but then once all of the financial aid packages come back, they’re just like, I don’t know which one is actually good. um, or if one is better than the other or how do they work or is there any kind of slick language or small print in this package?
That seems too good to be true. So we will help families, um, basically create comparison, a comparison chart for all of their packages to help them identify like what the real out of pocket is, what your real financial liability is for each of those schools. Um, we also offer, um, via the walkthroughs, we do financial aid package awareness.
We can also help talk you through the process of an appeal. So if you submit the FAFSA. And your EFC comes back really high and you submit the CSS profile and the school says, you know, we determine that your institutional need is really high in something that you just cannot afford. Um, then there is an appeals process that you can, uh, an appeal process that all schools have, where you can submit a letter, um, to the financial aid office, asking for them to revisit your financial aid package, um, and giving them more information on why this isn’t sufficient requesting, um, a package review and update that would give you more sufficient information.
We can talk you through, um, that entire process and talk about what information you need to include in the, in the, um, letter and how to construct it so that, um, you have your best shot at getting your appeal approved. So. Anything that you can think of about financial aid. Uh, we will work one on one with you in your particular context.
If you want to actually throw numbers in there and do the math of it, we can help you with that. Or if you just want to understand the general concepts, um, we know that financial aid is frustrating. It’s scary. Um, and we also know that it’s uncomfortable because we don’t really talk about our money. Um, so all of our, all of my teammates are very sensitive to that and we will really follow your lead in terms of what your comfort zone is, um, and give you as much detailed support as we.
Yes. And, um, for those in the room who are already working with us, we know that the admissions process, especially the financial aid process is overwhelming for parents and students alike our team of over 300 former admissions officers and admissions experts, as well as financial aid experts are ready to help you and your family navigate it all in one-on-one advising sessions, take charge of your family’s college admissions process by signing up for a free 15 minute strategy session with an a.
An admissions expert by scanning the QR code on the screen. Um, by working with CollegeAdvisor, you get the one on one support through the application and getting the essays together, but you also get access to our financial aid team that our wonderful panelists here, Ashly is on, who can help you through the more niche aspects of the financial aid process.
Answer all your questions about your family’s financial situation, and really help you with, um, building a good, um, list and plan, um, for the admissions process. So you can, um, find out more information about rates and everything by scanning the QR code on the screen. Uh, now back to the scholarships, that was the one I missed.
If you are looking for external scholarships, we can, um, help, um, our team will help you find resources and set up kind of an expectation plan, help you talk about like covering gaps and all of that. Um, and even walk you through some of our preferred. Resources, uh, for finding and applying for external scholarships.
So that’s usually a really popular one. Yes. And, um, the webinar is we are coming up on time, but we can get through a few more questions, um, before we leave. Um, so going onto the next question, where did it go? Um, uh, oh, uh, okay. Does applying earlier increase the amount of financial aid and scholarships that you get?
Another student asks more specifically, does applying, uh, like October 15th make a difference if the application op opens on October 1st? No. So in terms of, so remember FAFSA, this is all based on a formula. So applying early to the FAFSA does not increase your chances, um, of getting additional aid, because really what they’re trying to figure out is based on your 2020 income.
What your EFC like what you, your family can afford to pay so that doesn’t, there’s no benefit to applying to the FAFSA. I’m assuming, were talking about applying to the FAFSA early. Um, yes. Yeah. Um, so there’s no benefit in terms of how much you would get, because this is a mathematical formula determining eligibility.
It just takes it off of your plate. Um, once you start getting into late October, November, definitely like after Thanksgiving, things start to get a little hectic thick in your year, and you don’t want this thing that is so important to your ability to actually attend the schools that you’re applying to hanging over your head.
Um, so the faster you can get it out before all of these other things come swooping in midterms finals, um, if you play sports, like that’s usually like tournament time, all of that stuff. , if you can get it done before you hit that end of your first semester rush, um, then it just makes the rest of the college application process easier.
Uh, yes. Uh, we’ll go through two more questions. These are kind of blanket questions, but how can students and families understand, um, their special circumstances like divorce, independent status, military single parent, uh, and navigate the financial aid process, where can they receive help? How can they figure that out?
And then also kind of going off of the independent status, a student was asking, can they apply as an independent to relieve, um, financial stress off their parents? Um, is that something you’re allowed to do or do you have to apply as a dependent? So if your parents are claiming you as a dependent on their taxes, you cannot file as an independent.
um, unless again, there are special circumstances between 2020 or between when they last claimed you as a dependent and now, um, which you would have to provide documentation about. So if you were emancipated between then and now that would be one way that you could do it. Um, so both the FAFSA and CSS profile are pretty good about asking you the questions that they need to know to determine your eligibility.
So you don’t really need to go into the FAFSA saying, I think I’m a dependent, or I think I’m independent. They will ask you the qualifying questions and they will determine, um, what your eligibility is. They will ask you the questions and provide you with the definition of homelessness, um, and tell you how it, how that impacts, um, your, your status, your dependency status.
um, so you don’t have to worry too much ahead of time about that, but again, if you have some questions about that one using any of the resources that are on those two websites, so any of the, um, walkthroughs or kind of overview videos for CSS profile and FASA can help answer some of those questions. And again, allow you to lay eyes on the actual application so that you can sort of see what it is that you’re working with and like the level of information you have to provide.
Mm-hmm , uh, going onto the next question. Do colleges take into account that families with even a middle or upper income may not have the means to pay out of pocket for college? Like, uh, you mentioned how they take into the special circumstances form, but like still families are worried about like being able to afford college.
Yeah. And I’ll, I will be really honest with you. Um, it is the families that are making, um, like a little over a hundred thousand dollars that are hit the hardest with financial aid packages. If you’re making under a hundred thousand dollars, chances are you’ll be eligible for some sort of need based aid or usually you’ll.
Yeah. Um, but if you’re making over a hundred thousand not, or your EFC will be low enough that it’s manageable, but if you’re making over a hundred thousand dollars, that’s when the EFCs start to get kind of high. And so schools are looking at, okay, you can afford to pay $12,000, $20,000 a year, which is not possible for a lot of families, even if they are making that kind of money.
Um, so the FAFSA and the issue with the FAFSA is that it does not take that. um, which is why a lot of schools will also use the CSS profile and ask you for all that extra, right. That, okay. Yeah. This is your income, but you also have this many kids and you also have all of these other financial responsibilities and they’ll, that’s how they’ll be able to do it.
Schools that don’t use the CSS profile, um, will often use your EFC, um, to determine whether or not you’re eligible for need based aid. So it can get tough. I think there is, um, oh gosh, I can’t remember what it’s called, but even if you Google it , um, I don’t have it at my fingertips right now, but there’s actually a, um, resource that tells you what the, um, average merit based award is for.
I think like 370 of the top schools in the United States. Um, so meaning that you can find out what the cost of attendance is for that school and what the average merit based award meaning non need based award is for students. So that those sorts of resources can kind of help you get your footing too.
So if you’re looking at a school where the cost of attendance is 60 or $70,000, um, let me see. I, cuz it’s it’s necessary. Um, hang with me just a second because I wanna give you this.
Yes. And real quick, um, for parents, uh, you will use the same FAFSA ID um, for all of your students, uh, going through college. So you wanna keep track of that student you’ll need to create your own. You will not be using your siblings. Uh, that was a question that I saw. And then also, um, a student is asking about tax forms versus bank statements for tax forms.
If you’re wondering which tax forms you’re gonna need for your format, we’ll say it on the application. When you click the year, you’re applying for it’ll keep like flagging, which year, um, you need to submit. So whether it’s gonna be the 2020 or 2021, and then also for like bank statements and stuff, that’s usually current information, like how much money you have in your bank right now.
Whereas taxes is like old stuff. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Sorry. I didn’t think it would kick me off of big marker when I opened that tab. Um, so I just put the, um, link to the college transitions. Um, tool in the chat, uh, bookmark that, because that is gonna, that’s a tool that can help you kind of figure out. Okay.
Assuming that I’m an average student, which is safe to assume that that’s, that’s a safe to assume kind of thing for, for the vast majority of our students, um, are definitely above average. So assuming that I’m an average student, this is about what I could expect to get in non need based funding. This is the cost of attendance that allows you to sort of figure out what your funding gap is right there before need even factors into it.
Then once you have your EFC, you can factor that into and have a better idea of how much you can plan to cover. So if you’re one of those families that makes enough money, that the FAFSA, um, is not going to capture your need appropriately. And none of the schools that you’re looking at are, um, CSS profile schools, then this tool, um, can help you start to ballpark and it can help you again, start to rank things on your college list.
Like you’ll want to start looking at schools that give really robust merit based aid where a large proportion of their student body in, on scholarship, um, and where they cover a good portion of it. Yes. And just to, um, close out, uh, can you discuss a parent is asking about, um, their, the custodial parent.
Um, the other parent has not lived in the same state, um, and they’re wondering who income is going to be based off of. Is it gonna require both parents? Can you give sort of like a general idea about how divorced or separated like custodial noncustodial factors in? Yeah. So one of the things about the custodial noncustodial parent thing, um, That I think a lot of families, unfortunately end up having to use is that they end up using that special circumstances.
Part of the application to say, you know, we are no longer in touch. We are unable to, um, like both parents are not available to participate in this process for whatever reason. Um, and so that’s one way of kind of waving out of it. If both parents are able to complete it, then you decide between the two of you, which one is going to complete the, well, actually the non-custodial parent, meaning the one that does not have, um, primary, um, is not the primary carer and provider for the student, um, is the one that would fill it out.
If you have shared custody and it’s 50/50, then you can decide between the two of you, um, which one, which person is going to, uh, fill it out. But. All of that, um, can also, should also be addressed in the special circumstances section. I always recommend that. So if you plan on completing custodial waiver, uh, because that’s a separate process, you wanna flag that in the initial CSS profile, especially to say we plan on submitting a non-custodial parent waiver, um, just to give them a heads up about it.
Mm-hmm and FAFSA and CSS. For me personally, at least, um, with FAFSA, it was just my custodial parent. Whereas with CSS, we did use the non-custodial parent, um, waiver too. So each of them ask different things. I saw somewhere that FAFSA only ask for the custodial parent for the most part. Yeah. Um, in every state, but that may differ.
Um, but yeah. So any last minute remarks or anything that you would like to share, um, really just that, uh, this, you have all of the answers already. Um, this can feel again, like I said, very intrusive and because you don’t have a rubric, you don’t know what the formula is, and obviously you want to maximize, um, your, your students, financial aid, especially need based financial aid, as much as possible.
I can understand how this feels a little bit like flying blind. And that’s why it’s stressful because you really wanna get into the schools you wanna get into, and you really wanna be able to afford to go to them. Um, but know that you have the answers already know that some of the work of financial aid is developing a college list that is attainable, like absolutely have your reach schools, but your college list should also be financially attainable.
Um, and so understanding how financial aid works and what the schools, especially at the top of your list, what their kind of financial aid ethos is, um, is important. If a school is like, no, we don’t want people going into debt. So that’s why we cover 80% of our students tuition. That’s a school that, you know, okay.
You can feel pretty secure knowing that, okay, if I get in, I’m gonna be well funded. Um, but there are other schools that just aren’t like that. Um, and you should take that into account as well. So building a good college list that is financial aid aware is the best thing that you can do because you’re setting your expectations early.
You’re doing your research early. So then once the applications are in, um, you can feel really good that no matter what the admissions decisions are, um, chances are that you’ll be able to afford to go where you wanna go. Oh, and one other thing. You should have state schools on your college list. State schools are great for financial aid because they’re so transparent.
Um, the way that state school financial aid works is that if you are in state, you get a really hefty discount. It’s not a scholarship, it’s not alone. It’s not a grant, they just discount your tuition like crazy. Um, so that’s really easy to track. It also means that they don’t have as many merit based awards, as many kind of need based awards based on, you know, your institutional need and all of that, because they have this really hefty discount program.
So you can absolutely look at most state schools and say, this is the tuition. This is what we should expect to pay, um, and keep it moving that way. Um, and then if you still have a gap and you’re like, but we can’t afford to pay that, go to external scholarships. Um, so a log, a one on one with a financial aid team and talk about external scholarships, um, so that you can operate from a place of choice.
Yes. So that is the end of the webinar. We hope you thought, um, this information helpful. And remember again, that you can download the sides in the link in the handouts tab, and this webinar is being recorded. If you’d like to view it again later on our website, thank you to our wonderful presenter, Ashly, for all this great information about the financial aid process and the various applications.
Uh, here’s the rest of our September series, where we’ll be going over different, um, college panels and different aspects of the application process, including essays and financial aid, um, which you can view later, um, in our upcoming webinars. Or you can view again on our website again at collegeadvisor.com/webinars.
Um, so thank you everyone for coming out tonight and goodnight. Oh. And all of the links that are in the public chat, if you would like them, please get them now, because I don’t think that they are saved, um, otherwise, um, thank you everyone for coming out tonight and goodnight.