Today is a special day.
Especially for those of us who work with high school seniors who are preparing to attend college in the fall.
February 15th is the PRIORITY DEADLINE for the FAFSA.
The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is an application students fill out hoping to receive some financial aid from the government to help them attend college.
If they apply by today, they should be able to receive all the financial aid coming to them. Because it is on a first come, first serve basis, and if you apply later than February 15th, you may miss out on some of the financial aid you qualified for, but there is only so much money in the pot, and you missed out.
Now, you can still fill out the FAFSA after today. You just may not get all the money coming to you.
Some colleges also use February 15th as their priority deadline. Such as the University of Idaho. They want you to be applied and have your FAFSA submitted by February 15 in order to be guaranteed any scholarships you would qualify for, you would receive.
The State Of Idaho has some scholarships as well that were due today.
The program I work for, Gear Up, has a scholarship that most Kellogg Senior High School students can apply for, if they were a part of Gear Up sometime between 7th and 10th grade. Today was the deadline to apply for that scholarship.
If you have students in high school, and they plan on going to college, become knowledgeable about ways to help pay for college. I tell the students I work with, don't ever say you can't go to college because you can't afford it. There are ways to pay for college. You just have to be proactive, and keep up on what you need to do in order to get the most money you can.
I also spent some time searching for scholarships today. One great scholarship database is on the Idaho Career Information website. There are a lot of scholarships out there to help students attend college. But it takes time to prepare all the information about yourself to apply for a lot of the scholarships. My daughter Cosette has written up paragraphs on her education goals, her community service, extracurricular activities, hobbies and interests, and her employment. She has written about how she will contribute to her community after high school.
It seems like there are two philosophies when it comes to filling out scholarships. One is, let the students do it. It is their responsibility. If they want the money, they can do all the work.
Then there is the other way of looking at it....the way I look at filling out scholarships. The parent helps keep the student organized. I have a lot of knowledge of where to find scholarship information because of my job, so I am going to use this to help my daughter find more scholarships. My husband and I proofread whatever she writes up about herself. We offer suggestions. We help her know when her deadlines are. Partly because, it will save me us money if she receives some scholarships.
But I have seen it work both ways. I have seen students with no parental support receive all kinds of scholarships, and I have seen students with lots of parental support receive very few scholarships. For me, the more I help with the process, the more I learn to help other students at KHS in the future as they apply for the FAFSA and scholarships.
Oh, and students, if you have a high GPA when you graduate from high school, and high ACT or SAT scores, you are almost guaranteed your college will give you some kind of merit scholarship. So good grades and test scores can be very helpful!!!
And if you ever have any questions about any of this process....PLEASE ASK SOMEONE!!! There are a lot of very knowledgeable people out there who can help.