Scholarships and Financial Aid

2020 Financial Aid Seminar

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Important Financial Aid Dates

October 1st of the Senior Year

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) & the Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA--Bright Futures & Florida Aid) open for application

December 1 of the Senior Year

Most colleges highly recommend that the FAFSA be completed by December 1

CSS - College Scholarship Service Profile

The CSS Profile is only required by a limited number of colleges to determine financial aid packages. You may file the CSS Profile as early as October 1st. However, you should file no later than two weeks before the EARLIEST priority filing date specified by your colleges or programs.

It is primarily designed to give private member institutions of the College Board a closer look into the finances of a student and family. It is much more detailed than the FAFSA and might require a consultation with your financial aid advisor.

You file the CSS Profile online at www.collegeboard.org by selecting “CSS/PROFILE” under “Pay for College.” A list of colleges that accept the CSS Profile can be found on the College Board website.

FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid

The FAFSA will be available on October 1 each year. The information provided on the FAFSA is what the federal government and colleges will use to determine eligibility for need-based scholarships and grant programs. It is recommended that you submit your FAFSA no later than December 1. Money is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. 
 
It is highly recommended that families file the FAFSA even if you think your family may not qualify for federal aid. Not filing a FAFSA will disqualify students from federal loans as well as some scholarships and work-study programs. The FAFSA will determine your SAI (Student Aid Index).  How to FAFSA videos can be found at the following link.
 

FFAA - Florida Financial Aid Application

Beginning October 1 of the student’s senior yearstudents must submit a completed FFAA to the Office of Student Financial Aid (OFSA) for the following state grants and scholarships

  • Bright Futures Scholarship

  • Florida Farmworker Student Scholarship

  • Jose Marti Scholarship Challenge Grant

  • Scholarship for Children and Spouses of Deceased or Disabled Veterans

CLICK HERE for a brief video explanation of the Bright Futures Scholarship

Florida Prepaid College Plan

Many families have enrolled in the Florida Prepaid College Plan. Please note these frequently asked enrollment questions posted on www.myfloridaprepaid.com. Please call 800-552-GRAD(4723) or your financial advisor for additional information on how the FPCP can affect your student’s college costs.

Return on Investment (ROI) & Comparing Aid Packages

Some families are looking for deeper information about the return on their investment and would like to compare college financial aid packages, total college cost or debt, and average starting salaries of graduates from each institution.  Here are a few websites that can help you delve into these considerations:

Scholarships & Grants (Free Money)

There are countless scholarship opportunities in existence but you must be proactive to pursue these opportunities.  Students also don’t have to wait until senior year to search for scholarships; there are many scholarships for underclassmen and even some for middle-school students!  A few general rules about scholarships are that you should never have to pay to apply for a scholarship AND the more you apply for, the more money you have the potential to earn.  Applying may take some additional time, essay-writing, or recommendation-letter requesting, so do your research and apply to scholarships for which you meet all the qualifications.  Most scholarships are “stackable” so every little bit helps. 

Scholarships Types:

  • External search engines

  • Local/community

  • Institution-specific

Scholarships come in various award forms:

  • First-time freshmen only:  Available only to  first-time-in-college (FTIC) students; may be renewable/one year only OR  non-renewable 

  • Renewable:  2, 3, or 4 year scholarships that are renewable, typically based upon the recipient maintaining a certain GPA and full-time student status

  • Continuing/re-enrolling students only:  available to students who have a proven track record of success in college

  • An award may be based upon one or several of these factors:  merit (GPA/test scores), service, leadership, character, financial need, overcoming adversity, intended program of study, sports or music involvement, legacy status (parent went to the university), or various other conditions

Where to search for scholarships:

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