• What is Financial Aid?
     
    Any money given to a student for the purpose of meeting educational expenses is considered financial aid (or financial assistance).  Some examples are: scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study.  Financial aid programs have been designed to make up the difference between the family's ability to pay for college and the cost of a college education.  
     
    To the extent they are able, parents have the primary responsibility to pay for their dependent child's college education.  Students also have a responsibility to contribute to their own education as they are the primary beneficiary of that education.  While few families can afford to pay for 100% of college expenses, families are expected to provide for some of these costs.  
     
    There are various types, categories and sources of financial aid.  Gift aid (i.e., grants or scholarships) does not need to be repaid.  Self-help aid comes in two types: loans which must be repaid and work-study which must be earned by obtaining a job on campus.  Need-based aid, determined by income, is awarded based on demonstrating financial need.  Non-need-based aid is awarded based on merit or talent.  
     
    The College & Career Center maintains files on local and national scholarships available to Drake students. Financial aid application deadlines vary widely and it is to your advantage to begin looking for scholarship money early and often! Keep an eye out for new or updated scholarships on Naviance and stop by the College & Career Center for applications and guidance.
     
    The FAFSA
     
    The first step to applying for federal financial aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) which must be completed each year at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The FAFSA application for students entering college in the 2020-2021 academic year become available as of October 1, 2019.  Federal Aid is based on need, but it is distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.  
     
     
    Consider using the FAFSA4caster financial aid estimator and compare the results to actual costs at the colleges to which you will apply. 
     
    Refer to the Financial Aid page for recommendations on how to manage your time related to the Financial Aid Application Process.  Deadlines vary.  For additional resources, click here.
     
    Even if you feel that you may not qualify for need-based aid (determined by income), you may be eligible, if available from your college, for merit (academic) or miscellaneous (background, race, religion, geographical) aid that does not consider income. Some colleges require a completed FAFSA for these types of aid.
     
    Parents of all grade levels were invited to attend Financial Aid Night on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 from 5:30-7:00 pm in the Student Center. It is an evening dedicated to helping families prepare for all aspects of the financial aid process. If you missed this year's date, here is the Power Point presentation and Lisa Neumaier's talking points regarding scholarships.
     
    Click here for a table that lists common financial aid topics and where to find information about them on Federal Student Aid websites.
     
    California Dream Act Application
    The California Dream Act allows undocumented and nonresident documented students who meet certain provisions to apply for and receive state-based financial aid and institutional scholarships.  Click here for California Dream Act FAQs for Parents and Students.
     
    College Scholarship Service Financial Aid PROFILE
     
    Several hundred private colleges, as well as a small number of public colleges, also require financial aid applicants to complete another form known as the CSS PROFILE. The PROFILE is used by colleges to determine aid eligibility from college-based resources. The PROFILE opens October 1 each year and the student is responsible for knowing which of their colleges accept it. Click here for the 2018-19 Participating College List.
     
    The College Board, the administrator of the SAT, also administers the PROFILE. Unlike the FAFSA, which uses the same application for everyone, the PROFILE is customized for each family with additional questions requested by the colleges to which the student is applying for aid. The PROFILE can be submitted online (https://profileonline.collegeboard.com). Unlike the FAFSA, which is free, students pay a fee to register for the CSS PROFILE and then pay a fee for each college to which results are sent.
     
    Differences Between CSS PROFILE AND FAFSA Calculations of Expected Family Contribution
    • PROFILE includes home equity and business value as family assets.  FAFSA does not include home equity nor business value unless the business has one hundred full-time employees or more. 
    • PROFILE expects a student to make a minimum contribution, usually through summer work.  FAFSA does not require a minimum contribution from the student.  
    • PROFILE schools usually require the non-custodial PROFILE and thus include information on income and assets of a noncustodial parent.  FAFSA does not include this information.
    • PROFILE collects information on private elementary and secondary school tuition, medical expenses, and so on and allows the campus-based financial aid officer considerable discretion in evaluating special financial circumstances.  FAFSA does not ask for these costs - though a letter explaining such costs can be written directly to the school and the costs may be taken into consideration. 
    • PROFILE includes additional child tax credit, earned income credit, untaxed social security benefits received for all family members except the student applicant, tuition and fees deduction, amount withheld from parents' wages for dependent care and medical spending accounts, and the amount of foreign income exclusion.  FAFSA does not include these amounts. 
    Cal Grant
     
    Funded by the State of California and administered by the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC), Cal Grants are free money that may only be used at California colleges/universities and qualifying career/technical schools. There are several types of Cal Grant awards - click here for more information.
     
     
    If you are a California graduating high school senior or recent graduate, or just got your GED, and meet academic, financial and eligibility requirements and submit two forms by the Cal Grant deadline then you may qualify for a Cal Grant for college or career or technical school.
     
    The Tamalpais Unified High School District will automatically submit one of the required documents, the Cal Grant GPA Verification Form, for all qualifying seniors by the March 2nd deadline. Students are required to submit a completed FAFSA by March 2nd to be eligible for a Cal Grant. The District will also submit the Cal Grant GPA to the California Student Aid Commission for the past year's graduating seniors; after that students who receive a Cal Grant are responsible for contacting their college financial aid office to complete required forms by March 2.
     
    For students who are awarded a Cal Grant, you will eventually want to create an account at the following website: https://mygrantinfo.csac.ca.gov/logon.asp
     
    With this account, you are able to view the details of your award, confirm your high school graduation (this is possible starting the first day of your graduation month), and make a school change if the California Student Aid Commission has a different college listed than the one you plan to attend. The college listed is based on the first California college listed on your FAFSA. The earliest you will be able to make a school change is after you have confirmed your high school graduation. See Lisa Neumaier with any questions about Cal Grant.
     
    Since not all students are eligible for a Cal Grant, here is a sample Disqualification Fact Sheet. CSAC also created a sample Student Expense Budget document which may help you plan accordingly.
     

    If you are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you still may qualify for financial aid due to recent changes in California law. You could be eligible if 1) you attended a California high school for at least three years, and 2) you graduated or will graduate from a high school (or the equivalent) in California. The financial aid application you would complete is the California Dream Act Application. Here are the tips for completing that application.

    Institutional Aid and Scholarships
     
    Institutional Aid is awarded in various amounts depending on the institution (college) awarding the aid.  Careful research is necessary to track applications and deadlines for both institutional and private sources (scholarships) of aid.  There is no limit to the amount of private financial aid/scholarships that students can apply for.  
     
    To begin, search Naviance for more than 185 scholarship opportunities. Students can browse by category and review eligibility requirements to find the best match.  It's best to check Naviance every couple of weeks as new scholarships are added as soon as they are made available. 
     
    Private sources of financial aid can also be found online.  Examples of reputable sites include: www. fastweb.com, www.finaid.org, www.scholarships4school.com, and http://bigfuture.collegeboard.org
     
    The Middle Class Scholarship
     
    Starting with the 2014-15 academic year, the Middle Class Scholarship (MCS) is available to University of California or California State University undergraduate students with family incomes up to $150,000. Scholarship amounts vary by student and institution. Eligibility requirements can be found at https://www.csac.ca.gov/middle-class-scholarship
     
    Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE)
     
    WUE is a program coordinated by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). Through WUE, students in Western states may enroll in participating two-year and four-year public college programs at a reduced tuition level: up to 150 percent of the institution's regular resident tuition. In all cases, WUE tuition is considerably less than nonresident tuition. for answers to many of the commonly asked questions about WUE, visit www.wiche.edu/askwiche

    As of the 2014-15 academic year, the 26th year of WUE's operation, resident students from the following states and U.S. Territories may participate, if they meet eligibility requirements: Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Arizona, Montana, South Dakota, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Washington, Hawaii, North Dakota, Wyoming and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
     
    Many institutions require evidence of academic performance, such as ACT/SAT test scores or high school GPA, or place other conditions on WUE enrollment. Consult the WUE website for details.
     
    Virtually all undergraduate fields are available to WUE students at one or more of the participating colleges and universities. Some institutions have opened their entire curriculum on a space- available or first-come, first-served basis. Others offer only designated programs at the discounted WUE rate. To learn about the wide array of programs available, consult the searchable WUE database, located at www.wiche.edu/wue. For additional details, follow the links to the enrolling institutions’ websites.

    Apply directly to the institution(s) of your choice for admission and WUE tuition status. Mark prominently on the institution’s application form that you seek admission as a WUE student.

    Information about specific programs offered through WUE can be obtained from the admissions office of participating institutions.

    Net Price Calculator
     
    The Net Price Calculator is a tool that students can use to estimate their “net price” to attend a particular college or university.

    Net price is the difference between the “sticker” price (full cost) to attend a specific college, minus any grants and scholarships for which students may be eligible. Sticker price includes direct charges (tuition and fees, room and board) and indirect costs (books and supplies, transportation, and personal expenses).

    You can find the Net Price Calculator tool on each institution's website, most likely on the financial aid page. This tool helps families plan and budget for college expenses.
     
    Here is the 2018-19 Average per-year cost of attendance comparison chart by institution type. 
     
    *Some of the information provided in this section is taken from the California Student Aid Commission Fund Your Future booklet and the book Admissions Matters (Sally P. Springer, Jon Reider, Marion R. Franck, 2nd edition 2009).