Guidance newsletter: Winter 2019

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GNA COLLEGE & CAREER GUIDANCE NEWSLETTER

Winter 2019

Snowy Saturdays are perfect for FAFSA

Seniors, the FAFSA deadlines will be here before you know it. If you haven’t already completed FAFSA and the PA State Grant Form, it’s imperative that you do so as soon as possible. I am happy to help you out with the document as long as you bring in the appropriate paperwork and information. Applying for financial aid is a complex process, so even if you are working on it at home with your parents, never hesitate to stop by my office and ask questions! My door is always open. Now is an incredibly important time and completing the necessary steps to obtain financial aid is fundamental for your future. Please don’t wait any longer if you have yet to do FAFSA, let’s get everything finished so there is no stress as deadlines approach.

 

In this newsletter, I am going to touch up on some important information about FAFSA, state grants, the CSS Profile, and loans.

Mr. Yamulla | [email protected] | 570-735-7781 ext. 4436

 

FAFSA Tips and Essentials

 

Remember, this year’s graduating senior class will be attending college in the 2019-2020 academic year. So you will be doing the 2019-2020 FAFSA, NOT the 2018-2019 FAFSA. The financial documentation is needed from 2017, two years prior to attending college. In order to complete the FAFSA, you need your parents’ 2017 tax return information and your own if applicable. If you think you may identify as an independent student, come talk to me and I’ll explain the logistics. In addition to 1040 tax returns, you also will need 2017 W2 documents. If your family needs to request these documents from the IRS, be sure to do so as soon as possible. The process takes a while. Don’t forget to include each and every of the colleges you have applied to on the FAFSA, even if you don’t plan on attending. Your colleges will send you financial aid packages within the next few weeks. Never hesitate to bring your packages in to Mr. Yamulla’s office so he could help you review and compare them. Also, be sure to save the FSA IDs for you and your parents. This information will be used each year when you apply for aid.

 

Don’t forget about our friend, PHEAA

So you completed the FAFSA.. You’re not quite done yet. After submitting the FAFSA, it will need to be processed. When it’s been processed successfully, you will receive an email from the Pennsylvania Department of Education about completing your state grant form. Make sure you follow the link and make a PHEAA account to complete the form. These grants are free money, and they could be a difference maker when it comes to being able to afford a college or university.

 

The CSS Profile

 

Certain schools are “Profile Schools”. This means that they require the CSS Profile, an additional financial aid application run by Collegeboard. Schools that require the Profile are more selective, and often times meet 100% of a student’s need. The CSS Profile is a bit more complex than the FAFSA. Think about FAFSA as how much money you have; the CSS Profile asks you how you spend your money. Check in with Mr. Yamulla so he could review all of your applications, and then he will notify you if you need to complete the Profile. If you are a very competitive applicant who’s applying to some of the more selective colleges, the Profile may be in your future! In addition to completing the Profile, these schools will likely request that you send in signed copies of tax returns and W2s to validate all of the information.

 

Selected for verification, now what?

After completing all of the necessary financial aid documents, you may receive a letter stating that you’ve been selected for verification. This could mean a few things. There might be an error on your FAFSA. If this is the case, please visit Mr. Y and tell him so that he could review your FAFSA and help you make the appropriate edits. If you do not correct a FAFSA with errors, you won’t receive any financial aid. Being selected for verification could also mean that the Department of Education requires a little bit more proof of your situation, especially if you’re an independent student. This likely means that the guidance office will need to send out paperwork that validates your independence. Be sure to share this information with Mr. Yamulla, Ms. Iacovazzi, or Mr. Hischak if it is relevant to you. Fear not, validation is not a problem. It happens to many students and it’s an easy fix as long as you stay on top of it!

 

So, where do I enroll?

The process of making your college decision has a few layers. Obviously, you need to choose a college that makes you happy, and one that you could see yourself at for the next 4 years. However, financial implications must also be taken into consideration. There is no rush to make the decision, as the deadline is May 1st. Review each financial aid package with Mr. Yamulla so that he could help you understand the financial realities of each institution. If your second-choice college is offering significantly more aid than your first choice, then the second choice deserves some legitimate consideration. If you’re unhappy with a certain financial aid package, talk to Mr. Y about it. He will do is best to contact the office of financial aid and see if any changes/enhancements could be made. Your college decision should factor in match and fit on a personal level, but also on a financial level. Look at each tuition and financial aid package carefully, and talk about it with your parents/guardians.

 

Loans, how much is too much..

If you do the college application and financial aid processes right, you should be able to avoid that scary word.. Debt. I advise students to take out as few loans as possible. Ideally, it’s best to take out a total that is less than what you anticipate earning in your first year out of college. If you anticipate a starting salary of $40,000, stay below that number. Yes, it is possible to escape college with taking out very few, or no loans. Every college is different when it comes to the type of aid they give, and some have more money allocated for financial aid than others. There might be a school for you that will meet your need, or at least provide you with enough aid that there is very little left to be covered by loans. Private colleges and universities will give significantly more aid than state schools. So that big sticker price number might come down and actually cost less than a Pennsylvania State System school. So, be sure to analyze financial aid award letters and work closely with me so that you are making a decision that is affordable. Don’t make any deposits until you hear back from every college and also receive every financial aid award letter. There is no rush to make the final decision. And the right decision is not always easy. Remember, I’m here to provide the guidance necessary to help you access an affordable education.

 

Deposits

When the time comes to make that final college decision, you will be asked to pay a deposit fee. This is usually pretty steep. Most college deposits cost between $500 and $800. Plan accordingly for this eventual day. It may take some financial planning to prepare to pay the deposit. Also, keep in mind that colleges and universities are flexible. If your financial situation justifies it, many colleges will decrease or even waive deposit fees. Don’t wait until the last minute. If you are worried about paying the deposit fee, come talk to Mr. Yamulla and he will help you get in contact with the financial aid office at your respective college. Your college will have all of your financial information, so they are able to honor certain requests to reduce or waive a deposit fee.

 

Keep your Parents in the loop

Even if you do most of your college application and financial aid work with Mr. Yamulla, make sure you keep your parents/guardians in the loop. They are a part of this process as well. Whenever you submit an application, complete a financial aid form, or even just chat with Mr. Y, inform your parents/guardians so they are a part of the process. Things are at their best when everyone is on the same page.

 

Avoid Senioritis

You’ve been accepted.. FAFSA is done.. State Grants are done.. CSS Profile is done.. It’s very tempting to slack off a bit, especially since you’ve been working so hard up to this point. However, it’s imperative that you remain motivated and finish strong. Remember, colleges and universities will be receiving final grade reports. You don’t want to fall apart at the end of your senior year. You got this far! You have the ability to maintain academic and personal excellence. Always be the best version of yourself. It’s important to remain focused and determined so you aren’t blindsided when facing the academic rigors of college.

 

Remember

If you’re still unsure about college, check in with Mr. Yamulla. Never close yourself off to options. It’s never too late to establish a plan. This plan may entail starting at community college or taking a gap year, but have something set so that you have an end goal following graduation. If you feel that college is just not for you, that’s okay. Meet with Mr. Yamulla and he will do his best to guide you on your career path.

 

Greater Nanticoke Area High School Guidance Department

Ms. Lindsay Iacovazzi (A-L), Mr. Bill Hischak (M-Z), Mr. Joe Yamulla (College & Career Guidance)

(570) 735-7781