FAFSA Infographic

FAFSA and Dream Act

By Cindy Rodriguez, MHS Counselor, 10th and 12th Grade, and Sarah White, MSHS Head Counselor PAYING FOR COLLEGE can be overwhelming. There are many options available to make college more affordable. Understanding the available options and meeting deadlines is important in order to receive aid. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) / California Dream Act (CADAA) is the form you need to complete if you are a prospective college student. The FAFSA and Dream Act applications are available beginning October 1, 2019. After completing your applications your information will be sent to the colleges or higher education institutions you listed on your application. Once your application is processed you will be notified if you qualify for federal grants, Cal Grants or student loans. You will receive aid offers from each institute listed on your application. Grants are free money based on financial need and grade point average (GPA) that renew every year. Cal Grants are only available if you are attending a California institution of higher education. March 2, is the absolute deadline for submission of your Cal Grant application (FAFSA or CADAA + GPA). Loans are available if your grants do not cover the full cost of attendance. Loans are money that you borrow and payback with interest. Scholarships are usually a one-time money award based on merit. Local Scholarships are available to our Madera Unified high school seniors. Our local scholarship packet will be available at all high schools. Local scholarship application deadline is January 28th at 3:30 PM in their respective high school career center. RaiseMe is a platform that helps 9th through 12th-grade students prepare for college by earning scholarships for their achievements in high school. Over 250 colleges and universities have partnered with RaiseMe, and award micro-scholarships for both academics and extracurricular activities. Most colleges have their own scholarships available to students so it is recommended to check each institution’s financial aid website for information. When making your final decision on where to attend, it is important to review all options and think about all of the costs related to school including tuition, housing, books, food, etc. If you need assistance with completing your FAFSA or Dream ACT application please check with your students counselor or the high school website for workshop dates. The local colleges have financial aid offices that offer assistance with the application process and understanding award letters.

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