To put it simply:
Financial Aid/Grants/Scholarships are allocated funds that can be given to you by your chosen university, the federal government, non-profits, your high school, your senior class, and many other sources for the sole purpose of helping you further your education.
What is a FAFSA?
FAFSA stands for: Free Application for Federal Student Aid. A FAFSA is an application that determines a students' need and eligibility for financial aid. The FAFSA is for students who are U.S. Citizens. Another option that is currently available for eligible undocumented students who wish to pursue higher education, can be done through the California Dream Act.
Most students tend to apply and fill out the FAFSA application. There really is no income that is "too high" that does not allow you to apply, and thus every student should apply to see how much they could receive. In the end, it can only reduce your college tuition!
The application opens fall of senior year and closes at the beginning of summer. However, because it is federal money that is needed by many students, the later you apply the less aid you might receive. It is best to sit with a guardian or parent and complete it as soon as the application opens.
Think of it as a "General Application"
This application acts as a general application when applying for some university scholarships. How? Well, certain schools won't even consider you for their scholarships until you complete your FAFSA and it's turned in! This in turn makes it easier on you because you won't have to apply individually to every application but rather simply click on the scholarships that apply to you and the university will determine your eligibility based off your FAFSA.
It's also important to note that when applying, you are automatically applying to receive state funds too!
***For the 2021-2022 academic year: the FAFSA is due by 11:59 p.m. Central Time/9:59 p.m. Pacific Time on June 30, 2022.
What is the CSS Profile?
Entirely separate from the FAFSA application, is the CSS Profile. The CSS Profile is administered through the College Board to provide the opportunity for applicants to receive nonfederal aid. Not every college requires or accepts a CSS Profile, but many do, including:
Grants & Scholarships are free money for college!
Aside from your school, there are many other places to look for grants & scholarships. It's work! But it's worth it because there are some scholarships that very little students apply for, which will ultimately make your chances of being awarded that scholarship better. The opposite is true too, there are some scholarships that hundreds of students apply for, so your chances will be slimmer.
Your best bet is to apply for as many scholarships as you are QUALIFIED for. Don't waste time applying for scholarships whose criteria you don't meet. Instead focus on the ones you qualify for and apply for them all! Almost all scholarships are geared for specific students. For example female students, minority students, strong academic students, students of military families, students studying a specific major, and so on. Some are merit-based, and some are based on financial need. PAY ATTENTION TO SUBMISSION DEADLINES.
Where to find Grants & Scholarships:
1. Your school: Check with your high school and, if you know the college you will be attending, look at their website to see what scholarships they have available. Ask that school's counselors for more information.
2. The Government: As touched upon above, after completing your FAFSA, you will have access directly through the Student Aid Commission to apply for grants like the Cal Grant & scholarships. Be sure to browse through your Student Aid account to find out more! You can read more about this on the California Student Aid Commission website.
3. VCCF: The Ventura County Community Foundation manages and offers various scholarships to Ventura County students through their scholarship program. Find out more about VCCF scholarships here. For 2021, applications are due January 29th, 2021.
4. CareerOneStop: The U.S. Dept. of Labor sponsors Careeronestop.org, who offers a scholarship finder tool and allows you to access information for thousands of scholarships, fellowships, grants, and other financial aid award opportunities.
5. Hispanic Scholarship Fund: The HSF scholarship program provides scholarships to high school and undergraduate students based on merit. Applicants must be of Hispanic heritage and have a 3.0 (high school) or 2.5 (undergrad) GPA based on a 4.0 scale. For 2021, applications are due by February 15, 2021.
6. Fastweb: Fastweb.com is a free scholarship database search site. You'll need to create a free student profile to be able to search scholarships, financial aid, colleges and more!
7. College Board: BigFuture Scholarships Search Find scholarships, other financial aid and internships from more than 2,200 programs. Enter as much information as possible to find the most matches.
8. Local organizations: There are many local organizations that offer scholarships. Follow us on social media to keep up to date on different scholarships offered in our area! We're here to help you on your journey! DM us or Contact Us with questions.
9. Through our Platforms: As an information hub and referral network we make sure to continually find students reliable, up-to-date, and useful information and scholarships! If you've seen our latest post on 7/19/21, below are direct links to apply to those scholarships!
How much can you get in aid?
How much you can get depends on your specific situation, academic achievement and financial need. Aid, grants and scholarships can not only help pay for school, but they can also help pay for living expenses.
Just a note for thought: Our founder at The Student For Students Network received a $100,000 scholarship ($25,000 per year for 4 years, from one source alone!) simply because of her strong academic achievements in high school! You can too if you plan for it!
Are you a high school sports player interested in continuing to play in college? Check out Athletic Scholarship info here.
(Below are direct links to the scholarships we've posted on our Instagram platform)
2022 EQUAL JUSTICE SCHOLARSHIP - Deadline: May 31, 2022
2022 HEALTHY COMMUNITIES SCHOLARSHIP - Deadline: May 31, 2022
ABBOTT AND FENNER SCHOLARSHIP - Deadline: June 12, 2022
R.F. Wittmeyer Community Service Scholarship - Deadline: June 30, 2022