• Senior Student Financial Aid Checklist

    (Juniors scroll down)

     

     

    September

    • Talk to your high school counselor and College & Career Specialist about your college plans and money needs. Ask about scholarships offered by local organizations and businesses.
    • Check out other ways to pay for college at https://studentaid.gov/.
    • Keep a calendar of important deadlines for college admission and financial aid.  
    • Attend your high school’s Senior Night and Financial Aid Nights.
    • Get started filling out forms and writing essays for college admissions and scholarship applications.
    • Look into programs that let you earn money for college for volunteer service.
    • Make sure you have an e-mail address that’s appropriate for corresponding with colleges, lenders and employers.
    • Complete (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) FAFSA4caster before early December to get a jump on the FAFSA on the Web. Create your FSA ID and shorten the time it takes you to complete the online FAFSA in October. You’ll find it at https://studentaid.gov/.
    • Visit the website of every college you will apply to and read through their financial aid information. Use their Net Price Calculator tool to get an estimate of what it will cost your family to attend.

     

    October

    • As soon as possible after its October 1st release, complete and submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), along with any other financial aid applications your chosen school(s) may require. You should submit your FAFSA by the earliest financial aid deadline of the schools to which you are applying, usually by early February.
    • Check the box on the FAFSA saying you want to be considered for Work Study
    • Know each college's FAFSA deadline. Most California schools will have a March 2nd deadline but don't wait until then to submit your completed FAFSA.
    • Complete the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) as soon as possible. Provide the required e-signatures and an email address for faster processing.
    • Request any additional financial aid applications your college or financial aid program may require.
    • Determine if any college on your list requires the CSS PROFILE. If so, register for the College Board’s PROFILE application at www.collegeboard.org if you’re applying to a private college that requires it.
    • Start applying for private scholarships. Some may have very early deadlines.

     

    November

    • Be sure to meet all financial aid deadlines for your colleges. Some may be earlier than the Cal Grant March 2 deadline.

     

    December

    • Review your Student Aid Report from the FAFSA and make corrections, if necessary. If you don’t receive your report within three weeks of submitting your FAFSA, call toll free 800.433.3243.  This document lists your answers to the questions on your FAFSA and gives you some basic information about your aid eligibility.
    • If you receive a California Aid Report or a corrections letter regarding your eligibility for a Cal Grant, review it carefully and respond, if necessary.
    • Follow the individual instructions received from each college financial aid office (FAO).  Send everything requested and do so
    • Contact a school's financial aid office if you have any questions about the aid that school has offered you.
    • Develop a comparison chart of realistic and specific costs for each college. Start with the financial aid office student budget and build upon these. Add unique expenses you might face.
    • Continue to apply for private scholarships and begin applications.
    • Drake maintains a scholarship list on Naviance under the Colleges tab and then under the heading Scholarships & Monies, and then Scholarship List.  Click here to log on to Naviance.
    • Also search these scholarship sites:  fastweb.com; www.finaid.org; www.scholarships4school.com and https://www.chegg.com/scholarships

     

    January

    • Look into Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams for college credit held in the spring at participating high schools.
    • Continue to review your Student Aid Report and make corrections, if necessary.
    • Be sure to meet all financial aid deadlines for your colleges. Some may be earlier than the March 2 Cal Grant deadline.
    • Keep a copy of everything you submit.
    • Continue to research outside scholarships.

     

    February

    • You will receive a separate communication from the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) about the Cal Grant Program if you listed at least one California college/university on your FAFSA. Go to https://mygrantinfo.csac.ca.gov/ and create your WebGrants 4 Students account (WGS) to monitor your state grant status.
    • If you are awarded a Cal Grant, you can begin claiming your award by verifying your school of attendance in your WebGrants for Students account.
    • Follow up with your high school to make sure your Cal Grant GPA was electronically submitted.

     

    March

    • Ensure that your FAFSA/CADAA is received by the March 2 deadline.
    • Stay on top of your emails during this time and be sure to follow any instructions given to you by your college. For example, they may request additional financial information from you and you wouldn’t want to miss their deadlines.

     

    April

    • Watch for college acceptance letters and financial aid offers.
    • After receiving financial aid offers from the schools where you are accepted, read the entire offer and follow all instructions. Evaluate all financial aid offers carefully. Ask questions!
    • Compare the financial aid offers you receive from all schools where you are accepted.
    • Contact the FAO if you have questions.
    • Consider grants, work-study and other aid you don’t have to repay before accepting a student loan.
    • Decide on a college and send in all forms or deposits by the deadline (May 1 for most colleges).
    • Let your college know the financial aid awards you’re accepting and the ones you’re declining.
    • If you applied for a Cal Grant (you submitted the FAFSA or CADAA and your verified Cal Grant GPA by March 2) and have not received a letter regarding your application by April 30, e-mail studentsupport@csac.ca.gov or call toll free 888.224.7268.
    • Stay on top of your emails during this time and be sure to follow any instructions given to you by your college. For example, they may request additional financial information from you and you wouldn’t want to miss their deadlines.

     

    May

    • Claim your Cal Grant award by verifying your school of attendance in your WebGrants for Students account.
    • Arrange for housing plans.
    • If you missed the March 2 Cal Grant deadline, complete the FAFSA or CADAA and contact your financial aid office to learn about other financial aid opportunities.
    • If you have applied to a community college, your offer of financial aid notification will probably come later (June or July).
    • Do not make a May 1st deposit until you are sure the offer of financial aid is OK for you and your family. Work with the FAO and Admissions Offices if you have concerns.
    • Use your WebGrants (WGS) account to make school and address changes.
    • Notify the college FAO immediately if you receive any resources (like a scholarship) after you receive your offer of financial aid, or if there are other significant changes in your circumstances.
    •  If you receive a student loan offer that you plan to accept, you will be required to complete an “entrance counseling” session and master promissory note before getting the proceeds.
    • If you receive a Federal Work Study offer, find out from the college how you get a job.
    • Remember! You must renew your financial aid application (FAFSA) each year. Your FSA ID stays with you forever so keep it in a safe place where you can access it easily.

    Juniors

    Fall

    • Explore scholarship options on Naviance.

    Winter

    • Junior parents can attend Financial Aid Night at Drake.
    • Continue researching scholarships on Naviance.

    Spring

    • Attend Junior Financial Aid/Scholarship Workshops at Drake.
    • Use Net Price Calculator tool on college websites to get an estimate of what your family will pay at each school.
    • Have an honest family conversation regarding finances available to pay for college expenses.
    • Continue researching scholarships on Naviance.

     

     
    Information from: California Student Aid Commission (www.csac.ca.gov)