Vol 1: Issue 10  |  Home   


Table of Contents

  1. Documents, forms, applications, oh my!
  2. It’s FAFSA time again!!!!
  3. College Myths
  4. College Humor: The World According to Students
  5. Federal Updates
  6. College Survival Tips: Adjusting, coping and managing a new routine


Documents, forms, applications, oh my!

Why so many forms? Well, the answer is actually quite simple. First, the number of colleges and students attending them has increased dramatically over the past twenty years. Along with the increased number of colleges and student enrollment is the rise in overall attendance costs. Third, the amount of federal, state and institutional (school) financial aid available require mores complex forms and more documents to verify a family's income and ability to pay.

College can be an expensive proposition, and though there’s an increasing amount of financial aid available for students, schools still want to attract certain types of students to their hallowed halls and at the same time fill their quotas for equal distributions of race, gender and economic status according to government, state and institutional regulations. So, how do the colleges accomplish this?

The solution... forms:

Anytime you involve federal, state and private regulatory systems to determine what your Expected Family Contribution is, your financial aid eligibility and the percentage of the aid you’ll actually receive, you need forms. Forms to check forms, forms to beget forms and forms to make you feel so helpless and frustrated, you have no alternative but to trust big business (the schools).

Just for fun, we’ve listed a ‘few’ forms you’re likely to encounter in your search for financial aid. The following list is just a sampling of many forms used and there could even be a few forms we’ve overlooked, like the entrance and exit loan application counseling sessions, etc. We’re pretty sure you’ll end up filling out a considerable number of the 30 listed below, and if you’re wondering if anyone ever really needed to use 30 forms, the answer is yes.

  1. CFAA
  2. CSS Profile Application
  3. CSS Profile
  4. CSS information return sheet
  5. FAFSA
  6. Renewal FAFSA
  7. Student Aid Report
  8. Corrected SAR
  9. Final SAR
  10. State Loan Application
  11. State Loan acceptance/denial
  12. SEOG Grant
  13. SSIG Grant
  14. PELL Grant
  15. State Grant Application
  16. State Grant Acceptance/Denial
  17. PERKINS Loan
  18. STAFFORD loan application
  19. Stafford acceptance
  20. Stafford loan denial
  21. School fin aid award letter
  22. Parent PLUS Loan application
  23. PLUS Loan acceptance/Denial
  24. Supplemental Stafford Loan
  25. Verification Form
  26. Forbearance Form
  27. Financial Aid appeal letter
  28. Special Circumstances form
  29. Deferment Form
  30. Tuition Prepayment plans

College Financial Aid Application.
Form to order CSS Profile
Financial Aid Application used by private Colleges & Universities
Forms showing all data placed on CSS Profile
Processes student & family financial aid data for SAR
Processes financial aid & family data for returning students for SAR
Student Aid Report that determines family's contribution
SAR where estimated income figures are replaced with actual income figures
SAR, with actual income figures that generate your final EFC
Document requiring questions be completed for State loan funds
Form stating amount eligible for or reason(s) why denied
Grant recipients with lowest expected family contribution
State Student Incentive Grant given to student as additional financial aid
Grant, need-based for families with low incomes (under $32,000.00)
Application requiring certain information to determine eligibility
Letter stating amount and disbursements or reason(s) denied
Perkins Loan acceptance form (Loan application handled by college)
Student signature only application to receive Stafford funds
List amount minus P & O fees and dates funds to be disbursed
Document stating specific reason(s) you are not eligible for Stafford
Financial aid the school determines the student qualifies for
Form requiring family and student data and amount required for the year
Tells amount loans and disbursement dates, or reason(s) you were denied
Unsubsidized Stafford loan given to student when PLUS Loan denied
Colleges require this form to verify family and student information is correct
Form to request loan payments be deferred 1-3 years due to financial hardship
Letter sent questioning and asking for Financial Aid reconsideration
Letter requesting explanation of and reconsideration of awarded aid
Request loan's interest and or principle be suspended for a period of time
Normally offered by colleges during late spring for upcoming year

As you can see, the average number of different forms that a family with an incoming freshman could handle may exceed 20, using multiple similar college financial aid forms, easily 26 forms. Returning students, on the average, will handle no less than 12 to 14 forms per year. (Phew!!) If you want job security maybe you should become a financial aid administrator!

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It’s FAFSA time again!!!!

If you still need to fill out the FAFSA for the 2007-2008 school year, time’s a wastin! Applications need to be submitted by June 30, 2008. Apply online at www.fafsa.ed.gov or by requesting and completing a paper FAFSA. Request a paper FAFSA by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243, 1-319-337-5665 or 1-800-730-8913 (TTY users).

If you need to fill out the FAFSA for the 2008-2009 school year, you need to submit your application after January 1, 2008 and no later than June 30, 2009. Apply online at www.fafsa.ed.gov or by requesting and completing a paper FAFSA. Request a paper FAFSA by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243, 1-319-337-5665 or 1-800-730-8913 (TTY users).

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College Myths

Myth: Tuition alone will set you back more than $120,000.
Truth: Although college price tags average $30,000 or more for yearly tuition and fees, most colleges are more affordable than you might think. Once grants and other types of financial aid are taken into consideration, the net price is significantly lower than the published tuition and fees; in fact about 56% of students attending 4 year schools pay less than $9,000 annually with the average yearly cost for a four-year public school around $6,000.*

Myth: The more you save, the less aid you get.
Truth: Actually the more you save, the less you'll likely need to borrow, since a big chunk of financial assistance comes in the form of loans that need to be repaid. Tax-advantaged Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (formerly an Education IRA) and 529 College Savings Plans are helpful to have and just because you’ve saved money doesn’t mean you’re not eligible for aid if you need it since a family’s share of college costs are based mostly on income, not assets such as savings.*

Myth: Your family makes too much money to qualify for aid.
Truth: Contrary to popular belief, the amount of financial assistance available for higher education is going up, not down, for most families. Total aid has climbed to more than $130 billion and has more than doubled over the past decade. Financial aid administrators also factor in home mortgage costs, and other family members in college, as well as income, awarding aid to many families with incomes they thought would disqualify them.*

Myth: The payoff isn’t what it used to be.
Truth: True, your child may not have two nickels to rub together for a few years while paying back those hefty student loans, but the money you both spend on a college degree still yields a sizable return on your investment. Over a working lifetime, the typical college graduate earns about 75% more than a high school graduate.

On average, that difference totals $1 million more -- easily enough to repay those student loans and then some. The payoff from graduate school is even bigger: People with advanced degrees earn two to three times as much over their lifetimes as those without a college degree and increase their average total earnings by as much as $2 million.

* Excerpts taken from Collegeboard.com

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College Humor: The World According to Students

One of the fringe benefits of being an English or History teacher is receiving the occasional jewel of a student blooper in an essay. We’ve pasted together the following "history" of the world from certifiably genuine student bloopers collected by teachers throughout the United States, from eighth grade through college level. Read carefully, you will learn a lot.

The inhabitants of ancient Egypt were called mummies. They lived in the Sarah Dessert and traveled by Camelot. The climate in the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere, so certain areas of the dessert are cultivated by irritation. The Egyptians built the pyramids in the shape of a huge triangular cube. The pyramids are a range of mountains between France and Spain.

The Bible is full of interesting caricatures. In the first book of the Bible, Guinesses, Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree. One of their children, Cain, once asked, "Am I my brother's son?" God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on Mount Montezuma. Jacob, son of Isaac, stole his brother's birth mark. Jacob was a patriarch who brought up his twelve sons to be patriarchs, but they did not take to it. One of Jacob's sons, Joseph, gave refuse to the Israelites.

Pharaoh forced the Hebrew slaves to make bread without straw. Moses led them to the Red Sea, where they made unleavened bread, which is bread made without any ingredients. Afterwards, Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the Ten Commandments. David was a Hebrew king skilled at playing the liar. He fought with the philatelists, a race of people who lived in biblical times. Solomon, one of David's sons, had 500 wives and 500 porcupines.

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Federal Updates

In an effort to increase affordability of postsecondary education, President Bush’s FY 2009 education budget has requested an increase in Pell Grant funding. If approved, Pell Grant funding will be allotted $16.9 billion, an increase of $2.6 billion that will raise the maximum Pell Grant award to $4,800. This request reflects an increase in total Pell Grant funding since 2001 of $10.1 billion, or 116% and funds a 28% increase in the maximum award, from $3,750 to $4,800. The amount of recipients has also seen a 33% increase of 4.3 million to 5.8 million.

"Higher education is more expensive and more necessary for future success than ever before. For most families, a college degree is one of the most important investments they'll ever make," said Secretary Spellings. "The increase in funding and support for Pell Grants will help make college a reality for more of our students." *

*Excerpts taken from the U.S. Dept of Education website release date of Feb 4, 2008

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College Survival Tips: Adjusting, coping and managing a new routine

If you’re a freshman, you’ve now been in school for a few months and are probably still trying to adjust to the increased workload and accompanying responsibilities of college life. You’ve probably already realized but maybe still not adjusted to the fact that you now have more academic work in one week than you had in one month just a short year ago. You might additionally be loaded down with a work-study job or have off-campus employment.

Since the academic workload has increased geometrically, even the memory of coming home from your part time job, flipping on the one-eyed monster and relaxing before finishing an hour or so of high school homework seems light years away. In reality you come back to your dorm room (hopefully it’s relatively quiet), and flop onto your bed. You make several sighs intended to elicit sympathy (if you share your room), while the reality hits you that you only have four hours to read 42 pages, study for a quiz, and complete a lab assignment.

In our experience, many employers of college students are sympathetic, helpful, realistic, and understanding of what you’re experiencing. They may show it by permitting you to study at work while things are slow or by telling you to take off early (they might clock you out at the normal time) because you have a big test tomorrow. This can help…but if you have an employer who doesn’t believe in cutting breaks because he or she never received any... OUCH!

Another time structure change (disruption) is class scheduling. Though most students find this advantageous – they’re not confined within the high schools halls or learning for seven to eight hours daily -- this can generate severe problems if you haven’t yet learned to manage your time or freedom.

Another new issue to contend with can be class size. In large schools, the 300 plus student lecture hall is alive and thriving and possibly intimidating, especially when you find out you’re just a number and all grades are posted after your number on a public bulletin board outside the lecture hall. If you attend a smaller institution your class sizes are probably comparable to those in high school, where the Prof. actually knows your name and debates and discussions are normal instead of a being regarded as a freak of nature.

With all these new adjustments to your new life in college, the one thing necessary to help keep you balanced is the time you need to kick back, to physically relax and to mentally unwind. The personal time you so jealously guarded a year ago has evaporated before your eyes, until hours are replaced by minutes. And if this isn’t enough, your increased workload places you within the majority of students who, knowing they need to relax, unwind, etc, feel guilty as hell for doing so, since there is always something to do.

So what do you do to bring a better balance into your already over filled schedule? Try some of the tips below and see if they don’t help you relax and renew your spirit...

  • Try to fit in extra curricular campus even now and then even to the point of making them part of your schedule. Look at it as a reward for the countless hours of work and study.
  • Enjoy the college and dorm life. This is a once in a lifetime experience, hopefully you’ll make some lifetime friends and if you spend a bit of quality time with others, you’ll find that you and half the college are experiencing the same changes.
  • REWARD yourself periodically for handling your adjustments to college life, for giving your courses you best effort.
  • Find YOUR private places on campus, places you can be alone to think, unwind. Have one inside and another outside. This is for your private moments of thought, self-examination, prayer, and yes, DAY DREAMING. You owe it to yourself to have these moments if, for nothing else, for your sanity, your privacy. DO IT!
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