NNPS & TNCC Welcomes You Why You’re Here • Virtually everyone can – and will – tell you that college is important! • You are much more likely to be successful and happy if you continue your education past high school. Look Into the Future • College will be increasingly important. • By 2012, there will be 3 million new jobs that require a college degree – but not enough graduates to fill them. • Future jobs will require some form of education after high school: – 90% of fastest growing jobs – 60% of all jobs – 40% of all manufacturing jobs College Is Important • In a changing world, college will provide you with more career options. • There is a direct correlation between attending college and being employed. College Is Important College Is Important • College has a direct effect on personal income • Recent data on total personal income in Virginia, age 25 and above: – – – – – No HS diploma = $17,134 HS diploma = $26,979 Some college = $32,863 Bachelor’s degree = $49,274 Advanced degree = $76,642 College Is Important • People who have attended some college: – – – – Are more likely to vote Are more likely to volunteer Report that their health is better Are less likely to be incarcerated • It’s true – college is important! What We’ll Do Tonight • We’re going to cover three topics about going to college • First topic – Choosing the Right College for You – Provide a timeline for juniors and seniors to follow – Discuss college application process including deadlines, transcripts and essays – Provide a tool to use in evaluating which college is right for you What We’ll Do Tonight • Second topic – The Financial Aid Process – – – – Discuss the details of college costs Provide a timeline for juniors and seniors to follow Provide tips to prepare and apply for financial aid Show you a sample financial aid award letter, and provide a tool to help in evaluating awards from schools you are considering What We’ll Do Tonight • Third topic – Scholarship Searches and Scams – – – – Creating a scholarship search plan Characteristics of successful scholarship candidates What to expect if awarded a scholarship How to recognize and avoid scholarship scams What We’ll Do Tonight • At the end of the evening, we’ll collect your evaluations of tonight’s event. • Even better, we’ll hold a scholarship drawing in this room. • We’ll select winners of the $500 scholarships. • You must be present to win. What’s Next • Be sure to: – Fill out a scholarship entry form – Take a copy of Opportunities home with you – Check www.collegenightinva.org for a copy of tonight’s presentations Thanks for joining us tonight! Choosing the Right College for You Lots of Choices • There are over 6,000 colleges to choose from in the United States • School types – Public (both 2- and 4-year) – Private – Private career schools • One size does not fit all What Are Your Goals? • Choosing a college begins by defining your goals • Are you looking to: – Learn a trade or enter a specific profession? – Obtain a degree? • Associate’s • Bachelor’s • Advanced – Master’s, Doctoral or Professional • High school preparation is key High School Preparation • The track you are on in high school greatly influences the colleges you will be able to attend: – – – – Advanced Placement (AP) Classes Dual-enrollment Programs IB Diploma Programme Career-Technical Preparation Programs Choosing a College • Which colleges can help you meet your goals? • You can narrow down the list by considering factors important to you. • Factors to consider – – – – – Program or major you are considering College size Class size Location or distance from home Prestige, reputation Choosing a College • Additional factors to consider – – – – Campus atmosphere Extracurricular activities Religious or cultural affiliations Cost of attendance • A few words about cost… – Think about cost when making your final decision, not as much when starting your search – Consider your net out-of-pocket cost, not just the sticker price Opportunities – Page 5 College Application Process • There are many things you can do to prepare for a successful college application process. • The Opportunities booklet contains a checklist on page 6. • The checklist shows steps you should take beginning the summer before your junior year through high school graduation. • Some of the highlights appear on the following slides. Timeline – Junior Year • August – September – Make sure you are on track to graduate • October – – – – Take PSAT/NMSQT Make a list of college entrance requirements Meet with school counselor Consider attending college admissions fairs Timeline – Junior Year • January – August – – – – Request information from colleges Visit colleges and begin to narrow your list Take SAT/ACT and SAT Subject Tests (if needed) Start preparations for “other” admissions requirements – Work on your “resume” Timeline – Senior Year • September – December – – – – – Review plans with your school counselor Retake SAT/ACT (if necessary) Make a final list of colleges Plan for college admissions deadlines Note any “early decision” (binding) and “early action” (non-binding) application deadlines Timeline – Senior Year • September – December – – – – Visit colleges Request informational multimedia Start drafts of admissions essays Request high school transcripts Timeline – Senior Year • September – December – Identify references – Finalize “other” admissions requirements – Schedule admissions interviews if appropriate for the colleges that interest you Timeline – Senior Year • December – – – – Follow up with your references Complete revisions of applications and essays Mail/submit applications before holiday break Commit to keeping your grades up • May – Take Advanced Placement and IB exams College Entrance Exams • High school preparation also includes taking college entrance exams: – PSAT or PLAN – SAT – ACT • These tests are required or recommended by many colleges. College Entrance Exams • PSAT/NMSQT – Taken in Junior year as a “rehearsal” for the SAT – Measures reading, math and writing skills – More information: www.collegeboard.com/testing • PLAN Test – The rehearsal test for the ACT – English, math, reading and science – More information: www.actstudent.org/plan College Entrance Exams • SAT Reasoning – – – – Math, critical reading, writing Measures conceptual thinking rather than facts Scoring scale is 200-800 for each section Practice questions available at www.collegeboard.com College Entrance Exams • ACT – – – – – 215 questions, multiple choice Directly related to what you learned in high school Score ranges from 1-36 Optional writing test available Visit www.act.org for more information College Entrance Exams • SAT subject tests – – – – Mostly multiple choice questions Measures knowledge of particular subjects More than 20 subject tests available Many colleges may require one or more Opportunities – Page 8 Your College Applications • Most colleges accept – and some require – online applications • Read the directions carefully – Ability to follow directions correctly is part of many colleges’ acceptance criteria • Deadline for applications and supporting documentation – Each college has its own – See its website – If applying by mail, is it postmark or arrival date? Your College Applications • Transcripts – Official transcript needed for each college where you applied – Many acceptances contingent on maintaining GPA – Most require a final high school transcript Your College Applications • References – – – – – Usually from teachers, other adults and peers Allow plenty of time Give as much information as possible Include stamped, pre-addressed envelope Write thank you notes to your references and let them know when you get accepted Your College Applications • Admissions essays – – – – Stay on topic Essays should be error free Don’t exceed the word limit Be yourself Your College Applications • Other evidence of talent – – – – Portfolio Audition tapes Writing samples Contact specific program for more information The Financial Aid Process What We’ll Cover • Opportunities booklet contains information on the financial aid process, beginning on page 11 • Your college costs • The FAFSA and you • Types of financial aid • The final decision • Understanding your award letter Your College Costs • Cost of attendance (COA) – a.k.a. “budget” • Consists of direct and indirect costs • Direct costs are paid to the college – Tuition and fees – Room and board if living on campus Your College Costs • COA can also include indirect costs: – – – – – – – – – Room and board if living off campus Books and supplies Personal expenses Transportation Allowance for dependent care Loan fees Cost of a personal computer Costs related to disability Reasonable costs for study abroad Your College Costs • COA can also be thought of as the “sticker price” – the total cost of going to college before any financial aid you may receive • Remember – it is important to look at the net price • Begin to find out your net price to attend college by filing the FAFSA About the FAFSA • FAFSA = Free Application for Federal Student Aid • Determines eligibility for: – Most federal financial aid programs – Many state financial aid programs – Much of the aid colleges award from their own funds • Colleges may require additional forms to collect more detailed data About the FAFSA • FAFSA asks you questions about – – – – Income Assets Family size Number of family members attending college • Three versions of the FAFSA – Online – www.fafsa.ed.gov – PDF FAFSA – Print from your computer – Paper FAFSA – Call 1-800-4-FED-AID About the FAFSA • Online version is best – Built-in edits make it easier to complete accurately – Sign it electronically with your PIN obtained from www.pin.ed.gov – If dependent, parent also needs to sign with PIN – Faster results • Over 98% of FAFSAs are submitted online Preparing for the FAFSA • Gather documents (both parents and students) • Income tax returns – estimate if you have not completed your return • W-2 forms and other income • Benefits records from state and federal agencies • Current bank statements Tips for FAFSA Success • Meet all financial aid deadlines – Can vary from college to college – Meeting “priority deadline” results in best financial aid package available • It’s okay to estimate your financial information – Will get an opportunity to correct • List all colleges that you are applying to • Retain a copy of your completed FAFSA FAFSA Help Is Available • You can receive in-person help in completing the FAFSA at “Super Saturday” • Sponsored by Virginia Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and Virginia College Access Network • Saturday, February 13, 2010 • Many locations across the state • Details at www.vasfaa.org Financial Aid Process • After completing the FAFSA, the student receives Student Aid Report (SAR) – Correct any errors and return – SAR contains Expected Family Contribution (EFC) • FAFSA information is also sent to the colleges you listed to receive the data Financial Aid Process EFC Determines Aid Offered • COA (Cost of attendance) – EFC = financial need • Financial aid office will then determine the student’s eligibility for federal and state financial aid, and for any aid the college may be able to offer from its own funds • Student will receive an award letter with the details Types of Financial Aid • Gift aid – – – – Federal grant programs State grant programs Scholarships Institutional aid • Other types of federal “self-help” aid – Federal work-study – Federal loan programs Gift Aid – Federal Grants • Pell Grant – Need-based – Awards depend on program funding, cost of attendance and expected family contribution – Maximum award in 2009−2010 = $5,350 Gift Aid – Federal Grants • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) – Need-based – Must have received Pell Grant – Awards between $100−$4,000 Gift Aid – Federal Grants • Academic Competitiveness Grant Program – – – – – – 1st or 2nd year student Must have completed rigorous high school program Must be a Pell Grant recipient Must be enrolled at least half-time $750 1st year $1,300 2nd year Gift Aid – Federal Grants • SMART Grant – Enrolled at least half-time in bachelor’s or graduate degree program that includes at least 3 years of study at a 4-year college – Must be a Pell Grant recipient – Must major in sciences, math, engineering, technology, or crucial foreign language – At least 3.0 cumulative GPA – Award up to $4,000 for a maximum of 3 years Gift Aid – State Grants • There are four major grant programs in Virginia: – – – – CSAP – College Scholarship Assistance Program Virginia Commonwealth Award VGAP – Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program VTAG – Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant • More details on these and other Virginia financial aid programs on: – Pages 6-8 of Virginia Opportunities booklet – www.schev.edu Gift Aid – State Grants • CSAP is based entirely on need – For students at Virginia public and some private colleges – College determines award amount – Range from $400−$5,000 depending upon need and legislative appropriations • Virginia Commonwealth Award – – – – Students at Virginia public colleges only College determines award amount Awards are proportional to need Neediest students get the largest awards Gift Aid – State Grants • VGAP is based on both need and merit – Students at Virginia public colleges only – Must have a 2.5 high school GPA – Maximum award = Cost of tuition, fees and a book allowance – Must be a full-time student and maintain a 2.0 college GPA – Awards are proportional to need – Neediest students get the largest awards Gift Aid – State Grants • VTAG is not based on need or merit – Grant to Virginia students attending accredited private nonprofit colleges in Virginia – Students must be enrolled full-time – Maximum undergraduate award in 2009−2010 is approximately $3,000 Federal Work-Study • To qualify – Need-based – Undergraduate or graduate students – Enrolled at least half-time • Getting the money – Work part-time – Earn at least minimum wage Federal Loan Programs • Perkins Loans – – – – – – Student borrower Need-based Undergrads borrow up to $5,500 annually Typically a 10-year repayment period Deferment options available while enrolled In-school interest paid by federal government Federal Loan Programs • Stafford Loans • Student is the borrower • There are two types: – Subsidized • Based on need • Federal government pays interest while the student is in school – Unsubsidized • Not need-based • Borrower is responsible for all interest that accrues Federal Loan Programs • FAFSA determines eligibility for type of loan • Student may qualify for a combination of loan types – Dependent students can borrow up to $5,500 for first year – Independent students can borrow up to $9,500 for first year – 10- to 25-year repayment period – Typically a 6-month grace period after leaving college before repayment begins Federal Loan Programs • PLUS Loan – For parents of dependent undergraduate students – Parent cannot have an “adverse credit history” – Fixed interest rate of 7.9% or 8.5% depending upon the college the student attends – Repayment begins 60 days after last disbursement, but payments can be postponed until the student is no longer enrolled half-time – Can borrow up to cost of attendance minus other financial aid Understanding Award Letters • Read your award letter carefully – Look for instructions for next steps • Keep your college aware of changing financial issues • Meet all deadlines Understanding Award Letters • Award letter – – – – Lists types of aid Accept or decline Shows budget Sign and return • Pages 24-25 in Opportunities • Worksheet on page 26 helps you compare awards Understanding Award Letters • What if it’s not enough? – – – – Research private scholarships Consider any potential employer benefits Check into college tuition payment plans Make financial aid office aware of changes in your financial situation • Reminder – you must complete the FAFSA to be considered for most types of aid Scholarship Searches and Scams Agenda • • • • • • Dispelling myths about scholarships Searching for scholarships Successful scholarship candidates Scholarship applications Watch for scams Tips to remember Dispelling Myths • A form of gift aid – money given to students that doesn’t have to be repaid • A few commonly held myths about scholarships: – – – – – – You need a very high GPA You need lots of extracurricular activities If you’re a great student, they’ll find you Millions of dollars go unclaimed each year It’s just like applying to college The competition is too intense Finding Scholarships • You need to develop a plan to search and apply for scholarships. • Internet scholarship searches are a good place to start: – Look for no-fee sites. – Search engines require you to complete a profile. – Watch for scams. Popular Scholarship Sites • • • • • Fastweb – www.fastweb.com College Board – www.collegeboard.com Scholarships.com – www.scholarships.com Many other scholarship search sites Not endorsing those listed above, but have been proven to be legitimate sites Other Scholarship Resources • A good scholarship search extends beyond surfing the web • High school counselor – May have a list of local competitions – Check with other area high schools • College/university – Financial aid office – Check within your major Other Scholarship Resources • • • • • Family and friends Employers Religious, civic and community organizations Foundations Public library – Several volumes of scholarship listings Successful Scholarship Candidates • Apply for many different scholarships • Request applications to allow plenty of time for completing application requirements • Turn in error-free applications – Follow all application directions – Watch out for the fine print • Keep copies of completed applications • Are thankful and gracious Scholarship Applications • May need to provide – – – – – – Essays/personal statement Letters of recommendation Examples of work in specific study area/portfolio SAT/ACT scores Transcripts Interview Scholarship Applications • Essays and personal statement – – – – – Show, don’t tell Recycle writing appropriately Have others proofread Focus on potential Ask for help if you need it Scholarship Applications • Letters of recommendation – – – – – Provide scholarship criteria to references Request personalized recommendation Provide resume and copy of recommendation form Provide stamped envelope Keep in touch with references Scholarship Applications • ACT/SAT Scores and transcripts – – – – Request in time to meet deadlines Confirm that information has been sent Official or unofficial transcript? Take standardized tests in time to meet deadlines Scholarship Applications • Interviews – – – – Can be a major source of stress Be prepared for most common questions Think of it as a conversation Remember the basics • Be on time • Dress appropriately Scholarship Applications • Portfolio – May include writing samples, artwork, audition tapes – Many committees request electronic versions – Provide postage if you want it returned Watch for Scams • If it sounds too good to be true… – Beware of promises that are unrealistic • You’re guaranteed to win or your money back – Scholarships are competitive Watch for Scams • Come to a free seminar with a trained financial aid consultant – May try to sell you other financial products • The scholarship will cost some money – Always investigate the sponsor Watch for Scams • You can’t get this information anywhere else – Legitimate scholarship providers want to award their scholarships • Just give us your credit card number and we’ll get started – Investigate organizations carefully Watch for Scams • You are a finalist (for a scholarship you never applied for) – Most scholarship sponsors contact in response to inquiries • We’ll do all the work for you – You must provide all the work or the application is fraudulent Tips to Remember • Scam mailings often sound/look official • If you win, you will always receive notice via mail • Watch out for 900 area code telephone numbers • Always walk away from high pressure sales • Be wary of endorsements When You Win • What to expect – Congratulations letter – keep a copy for your records! – High profile scholarships may include follow-ups – Check may be sent to you or your college – May need to send transcripts and proof of enrollment – Fulfill obligations • College may adjust your financial aid award Student Loan Scams • Recent years have seen an increase in deceptive student loan practices. • Be particularly careful of loans that are not offered through the college financial aid office. • More information on avoiding loan scams is available at www.ftc.gov. Questions?