Financial Aid & Scholarships
Do you want help completing and submitting your FAFSA?
Monday and Thursday afternoons each week, Ferris College and Career Coordinator is available to meet in 1:1 online meetings.
Click HERE to schedule a day and time.
If these days/times do not work, please contact Dawn Hilsendeger to work out another date.
FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid
FAFSA opens each year on October 1. There is no FAFSA deadline, but check schools to see what their financial aid deadlines are.
Class of 2021 will submit the 2021-2022 FAFSA.
What is FAFSA and why should you submit it?
1. If you are eligible for federal or state grant money, FAFSA is required.
2. If you are signed up to receive College Bound Scholarship, FAFSA is required.
3. If you need to use the $5500 federal student loan offered to freshman, FAFSA is required.
4. If a parent would like the option to use parent PLUS loans, FAFSA is required.
5. If you are planning to apply for scholarships, many require FAFSA.
Instructions for completing the FAFSA.
FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is the application used by colleges to determine eligibility for need based aid programs.
- First step – create an FSA ID. Go to https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm. Both student and 1 parent will need to create a unique FSA ID. Student FSA ID will be used to log in to the FAFSA while the parent FSA ID will be used to link to the IRS for tax information and to sign the FAFSA.
- Note there are instances when a student is considered FAFSA independent and in that case will not need a parent FSA ID or any parent information on the FAFSA. For more information, go to https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/2021/help/need-parent-info.
- Go to https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa to complete and submit the FAFSA. (Note: if student does not have a social security number, go to www.readysetgrad.org to determine if you should submit WASFA instead).
- In the FAFSA, it is extremely important to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to transfer tax information into the FAFSA form. Use this tool if at all possible.
- After you successfully submit your FAFSA, you will see your Expected Family contribution (EFC). This number is the amount the federal government believes you should be responsible to contribute to next year’s college costs.
- You may be selected for verification which is a sort of audit system. If you are selected, you will be notified by the college financial aid office. Comply with all verification requests.
- In early Spring, your student will receive an award letter from each college listed on FAFSA showing what forms of financial aid that school is able to offer. This could include:
- Tuition waivers
- Work study
- Loans (student and parent)
After submitting FAFSA, all questions and inquiries should be directed to the college financial aid offices.
Need more information?
Not planning on attending a 4-year institution?It is a common myth that only 4-year university-bound students need to fill out the FAFSA. The FAFSA can pay for many trade school programs as well as apprenticeships and community colleges. All students who are furthering their education and job training after high school should submit the FAFSA.
Not sure what to do after graduation?Fill out the FAFSA! You want all your options available to you.
What is the secret to winning scholarships?
Apply! Apply! Apply!
Scholarships are often time consuming and require organization. Each student should apply for as many scholarships as they can. Scholarship money is always worth your time!
Tips for scholarships searching and applying:
1. All though you could find and apply for scholarships throughout the year, there is a season to scholarships. Most scholarships are open in the December - March months. If you wait until late spring to apply for scholarships, you will miss out on many applications that have closed.
2. Watch out for scams. If you are asked to pay any amount of money, no matter how small, it is a scam. Do not pay and do not apply.
3. Focus on local scholarships where the applicant pool is smaller and chances of winning are higher. Local scholarships are most often found by:
- Reading the monthly Senior Scoop newsletter posted on FHS site.
- Signing up for Mrs. Hilsendeger's Class of 2021 Remind group (@2021Fer) to get scholarship alerts and notifications.
- In SchooLinks, click on "finances" along left side menu, then "scholarship matching". You will need to put in some profile information for the match tool to work.
- Visit the GearUp WA database HERE
- Create a Washboard profile HERE and see if you match with WA scholarships in that database.
- CareerOne scholarship finder is national, but very comprehensive, so worth looking at. Use filters to narrow search. Scholarship Finder.
4. Many colleges manage a large number of scholarships and have a general scholarship application available on their websites. Submit that general scholarship application for every college you apply to if they have one. These applications can be time consuming, but remember...every scholarship is worth your time.
5. Use your network! Ask parents, uncles, aunts, neighbors if their employer or charitable organization offers scholarships. Local banks often offer scholarships for their members.
6. Virtually all scholarships require some version of these. Plan ahead and get these done now.
- personal statement/essay. If you didn't need to write one for college applications, you will for scholarships. Click here to find a helpful essay writing tool.
- letters of recommendation. If you don't have any, ask at least 1 classroom teacher, and 1 other adult (non family member) to write a letter of recommendation.
- Update your profile in SchooLinks so teachers can find details to use in their letter.
- Ask each recommender in person. This is critical. Teachers generally will not write letters if they receive an email request without a personal conversation.
- Make sure each recommender knows how to submit the recommendation.
- Give each recommender at least 2-3 weeks to complete.
- Personally thank each recommender for the letter. Believe me. This last step is important.