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By John Raftrey And Lori McCormick

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About this blog: We are writing this blog to give practical advice to students and parents, to reflect on issues affecting college admissions, and to provide a platform for a robust community discussion on post-secondary choices. We occasionally f...  (More)

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Applying for FAFSA

Uploaded: Jan 1, 2016
(Written by Lori McCormick)

January 1st marks the opening of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, more commonly known as FAFSA. If you reside in California, you have until March 2, 2016 to submit your application.

What is FAFSA?
Federal Student Aid, is a part of the U.S Department of Education, and provides grants, loans, and work study funds to college eligible students. Applying to FAFSA is free. Even if you don’t think you qualify, I encouraged you to apply. Colleges use this application to determine your expected family contribution and colleges will grant money to students based on their financial need. If you don’t qualify for need-based aid, colleges still might offer you merit-based aid.

Who applies for FAFSA?
High school seniors, transfer students, and vocational students (confirm with your trade school if they accept FAFSA). If you are younger than a high school senior, the FAFSA4caster is a great tool to help determine your eligibility now so that you can plan for college in the (near) future. You can find this tool on FAFSA's website (see link below).

In addition to submitting the FAFSA, the Cal Grant also requires submission by March 2, 2016. Students are eligible based on their GPA. Community College students are eligible to apply for FAFSA and Cal Grant.

What if I don’t have a social security number?
There are several resources available to undocumented students to help determine your financial aid eligibility. Here are a couple of websites to get you started on your search:

Student Aid.GOV

To learn more about FAFSA or to apply, click on their website.
To learn more about Cal Grant, click on their website
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Posted by EPAMom, a resident of East Palo Alto,
on Jan 2, 2016 at 11:02 pm

Thank you for posting this! It's always good to see deadlines and reminders for these important dates.

Posted by CAmom, a resident of Cuesta Park,
on Jan 4, 2016 at 2:24 pm

Undocumented students should be sure check out info from Educators for a Fair Consideration They have a page with info about the California Dream Act which allows some undocumented students to qualify for California based financial aid (e.g. Cal Grants, Board of Governors Fee Waivers and more) see Web Link

There are more and more scholarships open to undocumented students since the California Dream Act passed. Also, students who qualify for DACA (deferred action for childhood arrivals) can work legally on-campus, for local companies, etc. Though still not eligible for federal financial aid, they have a lot more opportunities now to get experience working in their field of interest during college and when they graduate.

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