Financial Aid & Scholarships

  • FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid

    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. 

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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).
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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:
      1. Grants
      2. Scholarships
      3. Tuition waivers
      4. Work study
      5. Loans (student and parent)

    After submitting FAFSA, all questions and inquiries should be directed to the college financial aid offices.

    Need more information?

    [Check out this video that helps explain FAFSA.]

    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.
  • Scholarships

    What is the secret to winning scholarships?

    Apply! Apply! Apply!

    Scholarships are often time consuming and require organization. Each student student apply for as many scholarships as they can. Scholarship money is always worth your time!

    Tips for scholarships searching and applying:

    1. 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.

    2. Focus on local scholarships where the applicant pool is smaller and chances of winning are higher. Local scholarships are most often found by:

    • looking on the Ferris High School College and Career Readiness page for the scholarship list
    • reading the monthly Senior Scoop newsletter 
    • signing up for Mrs. Hilsendeger's Remind group (@FHS99223) to get scholarship alerts and notifications
    • create a profile on www.washboard.org and see if you match with WA scholarships in that database

    3. 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.

    4. Use your network! Ask parents, uncles, aunts, neighbors if their employer or charitable organization offers scholarships. Local banks often offer scholarships for their members. 

    5. 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. 
    • 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.
      • Ask each recommender in person and give each recommender a hard copy of a resume showing your involvement, GPA, awards, etc.
      • 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.

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