Planning for the Future Part 1: FAFSA

I was sending a link to my blog the other day and imagine my surprise when I saw:

Thoughts that ran through my head:

1) Holy crap–2,000+ subscribe to this blog?!?  That’s crazy.

2) Especially when I haven’t posted much this past year.

3) I should probably remedy that.

So my goal is to get the rest of my math stuff up for Algebra II, Precal, and Geometry, along with sharing some stuff from what I’m currently teaching: ACT Prep.

STOP THE PRESSES I CAN’T BELIEVE I HAVEN’T EVEN POST A PICTURE OF MY NEW PUP, LUNA!!!

She’s a tri-colored corgi and about the sweetest pup ever! Which is good because she’s also quite the troublemaker as well. 🙂 Feel free to follow me on Twitter (@mathymeg07) for more pics of her and Addison.

WE NOW RETURN TO OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED BLOG ALREADY IN PROGRESS.

In an effort to remain sane, last semester I decided to add some “plan for your future prep” to the class because I can only talk about apostrophes and commas for so long. I had the class research careers and colleges and we also discussed financial aid. I’ll be sharing my resources over the next month or so, but wanted to start today with the FAFSA.  (Note: in case this isn’t clear, I have NO training or recent experience in financial aid, college applications, or scholarships. I learned everything from the Internet and I should not be a substitute for professional legal or financial advice. 🙂 )

Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve had to deal with the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Imagine a tax form that was developed in the 1950’s and involves a student’s tax returns as well as the returns of his or her parents. Oh, and the form *just* determines how much money you can get for college and what kind (grants, loans, work-study). Oh, AND some of the money is first-come, first-serve, so it behooves you to submit it as soon as possible. No problemo, right? We all know our students are awesome at following complicated directions and filling out forms. But just in case, here are some things that you may to talk with your students about or at least give them the information so they can look it over with their parents.

  • Note the first word in FAFSA is FREE. So of course there are scam websites that offer to submit your application for a fee. Not only are you giving these scammers money, but you’re also giving them highly sensitive information! Only use the fafsa.ed.gov website. Underclassmen can also use the FAFSA4caster on the site to fill out a sample FAFSA and get an approximation of aid.
  • In 2016, they moved the opening date from January to October, which means this year’s seniors need to fill out and submit their form as close to October 1, 2017, as possible for Fall 2018 aid.
  • You must fill out a new FAFSA every year.
  •  Oklahoma’s UCanGo2 website has a great powerpoint in the “FAFSA toolkit,” as well as posters and parent flyers to download.
  • My favorite resource is the booklet (also available in Spanish) from understandingfafsa.org. I even made a companion worksheet for my students so they would be sure to read important information: (Google Doc here) Yes, more than one student asked me if they should count the corgis as part of the household number.
  • Depending on your student population, you may want to draw attention to page 4 and 5 of the Understanding FAFSA book. It discusses questions about being “too rich” as well as immigration/documentation issues.

Maybe your school is already on top of this, but if not, here are some ideas to help your student out: (a) plan a financial aid information night (b) email information to parents and students (c) make a plan with senior teachers about each course covering a different college topic throughout the year (maybe English could cover application essays, math can do loans, gov’t/econ FAFSA, and science scholarships) (d) make Fridays “Financial Fridays” and spend 5-10 minutes each week on a topic (e) work with your guidance counselors and/or librarians to make a presentation that can be given in senior classes.

Stayed tuned for more resources coming soon! And a big thanks and hug to all of my subscribers and followers!

Category: ACT Prep | Tags: ,

6 comments on “Planning for the Future Part 1: FAFSA

  1. Really helpful Meg, esp. since I teach College Readiness. I went to a really cool workshop on using a ranking system to help students take some emotion out of big decisions and look at the “numbers” instead. I will share with you! DM me!

    The MORE pictures of LUNA!!! the happier I am.

    Cheers

    • OOOOOH that’s sounds great! I think most of them choose based on football teams. 🙂

  2. HI!
    Thanks for the picture of Luna! Such a cutie.
    I sent the link for your post to my friend that teaches a class for all seniors in Santa Maria, CA. I think it’s full of such good information, I’m sure she’ll use it with her seniors, so THANK YOU!!!!

    • Haha, you know I am always more than happy to post corgi pics!! 🙂 You are very welcome for the information; I hope she finds it useful!

  3. Our guidance department does a mandatory college Boot Camp day for seniors on the day before school starts. The students rotate among different rooms where they get information about everything involved with applying to colleges. It is a private school so I’m not sure how that would work in a public school but it has certainly been effective for guidance department rather than trying to get the information to each student individually. That’s great that you are helping out your students with learning about the FAFSA!

    • Wow, that sounds like a great idea! Our school does do a lot, but it is hard fitting it in with so many students. Will suggest this to our guidance counselors!

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