FAFSA, Guest Post

Guest Post: Fixing the FSA ID

No Comments 01 August 2016

In this guest post, financial aid expert Mark Kantrowitz shares tips to fix common problems families encounter when using their FSA ID to sign the FAFSA electronically.

One of the most challenging aspects of filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the FSA ID, which is used by students and parents to sign the FAFSA electronically. It is a more secure version of the FSA PIN, but families have found that it is also more difficult to create and use a FSA ID.

Here are the top tips for addressing problems people experience with the FSA ID.

  • Students and parents should each create their own FSA IDs and not share them with each other. The FSA ID is an electronic signature, which is why an email address can be associated with only one FSA ID. Many problems with the FSA ID are caused by swapping student and parent information, such as names, date of birth or Social Security Numbers. In some cases, the wrong FSA ID is used to login to the FAFSA or to sign the form. These problems are less likely to occur if the student and parent each complete their own sections of the FAFSA.
  • Typos are sometimes very hard to spot. An extra space or period in an email address may seem invisible. The letter O and number 0 are easy to confuse, as are the letters l and i and the number 1. Look for digit and character transpositions, insertions and deletions, especially doubled letters. Don’t swap the month and day part of the date of birth. The name, date of birth and Social Security Number must match the information on file with the Social Security Administration. Don’t substitute a nickname or middle name for a first name. If your last name doesn’t work, try using your maiden name.
  • If a parent is undocumented, they cannot get a FSA ID and should use 000-00-0000 in place of a Social Security Number on the FAFSA. Do not substitute a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).
  • When using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, the address associated with the FSA ID and the FAFSA must match the address listed on the taxpayer’s federal income tax return.
  • Keep a copy of your FSA ID (username, email address and password) in a safe place, in case you forget your FSA ID. If you try to login unsuccessfully three times, it will lock your FSA ID. You must then unlock your FSA ID through the Edit My FSA ID tab and change the password before you can use your FSA ID. Otherwise, the FSA ID will immediately relock the next time you try to use it. If you unlock your FSA ID using the challenge questions, there will also be a 30-minute delay before you can use your FSA ID. If you unlock the FSA ID by email but do not receive the secure code in your inbox, check your junk mail folder.
  • Call 1-800-557-7394 (TTY 1-800-730-8913) for help with FSA ID problems. You can also click on Help, then Contact Us and then on the LIVE HELP button on the FAFSA.ed.gov web site. Sending email to StudentAid@ed.gov is another option, but you should not include personal information in the email message. You can also try calling 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).

If nothing else works, submit the FAFSA without using the FSA ID by printing, signing and mailing the signature page.

Money

August Scholarships

No Comments 29 July 2016

It’s that time again! Here is our list of scholarships with August deadlines, available to any savvy College Greenlight student ready to take advantage of the dog days of summer. Remember that these are only a fraction of the amazing scholarships we’ve got on our database. Fill out a College Greenlight profile right now and see just how easy it is to find money for college.

Find a few scholarships that interest you? Make sure to add them to your list on College Greenlight and check out the College Greenlight Summer Challenge Scholarship.  Much like the actual summer, the Summer Challenge ends soon (September 1st!) so take advantage of the sun and the time off to get some free money for college! 

 

Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation Education Support Awards

Deadline: August 1     Award: $3,000

This award is for women who are at least 17 years old. To qualify, applicants must be mothers with minor children. Applicants must be enrolled in a skills training, ESL, or GED program; or pursuing a technical/vocational degree, an associate’s degree, a first bachelor’s degree, or a professional/master’s/doctoral degree.

APS Hopi Scholars Program

Deadline: August 1     Award: $4,000

This scholarship is for American Indians who are enrolled members of the Hopi Tribe. To qualify, applicants must be high school graduates/GED recipients and be full-time sophomores, juniors, or seniors admitted to a regionally accredited college or university.

Domo Scholarship for Business Management

Deadline: August 1     Award: $2,500

This scholarship is for college students who are studying business and show an interest in analytics. Applicants must be attending a four-year college or university in the United States. To apply, applicants must write a 500-word essay and complete a survey that focuses on attitudes around data, big data, social media and analytics, and decision making for leaders.

Women in Public Finance Scholarship

Deadline: August 25     Award: $3,000

This scholarship is for women who are college-bound high school students entering their senior year in the fall of 2013. To qualify for this scholarship, applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA or equivalent; exhibit leadership skills through extracurricular activities, volunteer positions, and/or work experience; and have an interest in pursuing a public finance-related career in finance, government, nonprofits, or law.

AFSA Second Chance Scholarship Contest

Deadline: August 26     Award: $1,000
This scholarship is for US citizens or legal residents with a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent. To qualify for this scholarship, applicants must attend a college, university, or certified trade school in the United States and must enroll or already be enrolled for the Spring 2013 session. Winners are not based on financial need. Relatives of AFSA staff or board members may not enter. To apply for this scholarship, applicants must take a ten-question, multiple-choice, open-book test; for each question answered correctly, applicants will receive one entry into the scholarship drawing.

Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women

Deadline: August 29     Award: $1,000

This scholarship is for women 25 years of age or older, who are legal residents of the United States or Canada attending a US or Canadian college or university. To apply for this scholarship, applicants submit a 500-word maximum, typed essay that includes information on why they are applying for the scholarship, how achieving their educational goals will enhance their future, the specific purpose for the funds, and the dollar amount requested.

Claude S. Weiler Scholarship for Amputee College Students

Deadline: August 31     Award: $500

This scholarship is for college students with a major limb amputation who will be attending an accredited university as a full-time student. A major limb amputation in described as loss of a limb beginning at or above the wrist or ankle. To apply for this scholarship, applicants must include a short letter explaining how the lost of limb(s) has affected their life.

ARTBA’s Student Transportation Video Contest

Deadline: August 31     Award: $500

This contest is for students of all ages. To enter, applicants must create an original two- to four-minute video examining any aspect of transportation in the United States. See website for more details and suggested topic ideas.

Scholarships

July Scholarships

No Comments 16 June 2016

With Fourth of July just around the corner, summer has finally arrived–and we’re in the thick of it.   While this time isn’t the most popular for scholarships, there are still a few opportunities available at this time for students willing to take the time to apply to July scholarships.

Below, you’ll find a list of all kinds of scholarships with deadlines in July.  Before you apply, carefully check the eligibility requirements and if you qualify, send in that application!

 

Eli Lilly and Company/Black Data Processing Associates Scholarship

DEADLINE: Jul 3
AVERAGE AWARD: $2,500

SCHOLARSHIP OVERVIEW
These scholarships are for members of Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) who are graduating high school seniors or currently college students in good standing.

 

HomeCity Real Estate Scholarship

DEADLINE: Jul 15
AVERAGE AWARD: $1,000

SCHOLARSHIP OVERVIEW
This scholarship is for high school seniors, undergraduate, and graduate students. Applicants must submit an essay on the topic of home buyers advice. See website for further details.

 

Polish Union of America Scholarships

DEADLINE:Jul 10
AWARD RANGE:$100 – $200

SCHOLARSHIP OVERVIEW
This scholarship is for members of the Polish Union of America who complied with the requirements set by a rededication commitment letter sent in February 2011.

 

Novus Biologicals Scholarship Program

DEADLINE: Jul 8
AVERAGE AWARD: $1,500

SCHOLARSHIP OVERVIEW
This scholarship is for students worldwide who are enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a baccalaureate, graduate, associate’s degree, or diploma program with a declared major in a science-related field.

 

Joshua Gomes Memorial Scholarship

DEADLINE: Jul 15
AVERAGE AWARD: $1,000

SCHOLARSHIP OVERVIEW
This scholarship is for students who are HIV positive or have AIDS. To qualify for this scholarship, applicants must be accepted at or enrolled in full-time undergraduate or graduate study at a US college, university, institute, or technical college.

 

NCGA Educational Foundation Scholarship

DEADLINE:Jul 15
AVERAGE AWARD:$1,000

SCHOLARSHIP OVERVIEW
This scholarship is for students who have been or who are currently employed in the church goods industry, or who are family members of a current or former employee in the church goods industry.

 

Greg Baumgartner Scholarship
DEADLINE: Jul 15
AVERAGE AWARD: $1,000

SCHOLARSHIP OVERVIEW
This scholarship is for students with at least a “B” average GPA who are paying their way through school without parental assistance.

 

Console & Hollawell Paralegal Scholarship

DEADLINE: Jul 15
AVERAGE AWARD: $1,000

SCHOLARSHIP OVERVIEW
This scholarship is for students attending community colleges, technical schools or business schools in the United States pursuing degrees or certifications in paralegal studies, legal assistant, court reporting, or other law-related field.

 

ERCA Community Contribution Scholarship

DEADLINE: Jul 15
AWARD RANGE: $1,000 – $5,000

SCHOLARSHIP OVERVIEW
This scholarship is for high school students who are legal residents of the United States and have recognized a need or problem in their community and developed an action plan

 

FAFSA

What You Need to Know about Prior-Prior Year

1 Comment 13 June 2016

Starting with the 2017-18 award year, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will be based on prior-prior year (PPY) income and tax information instead of prior-year (PY) income and tax information. For example, the 2017-18 FAFSA will be based on 2015 federal income tax returns instead of 2016 federal income tax returns.

The switch to PPY enables two key benefits for all students:

  • Students will be able to start filing the FAFSA three months sooner, on October 1 instead of January 1. This will align the start of the financial aid application season with the start of the college admissions application season.
  • Students and their families will be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to pre-fill the FAFSA, making it easier to complete the form. Most taxpayers will have already filed their federal income tax returns. Even taxpayers who use the automatic 6-month filing extension must have filed their federal income tax returns by October 15, near the start of the FAFSA application season.

The switch to PPY may be especially beneficial for low-income students:

  • Generally, low-income students are more likely to be selected for verification because they are more likely to qualify for the Federal Pell Grant. But, low-income students are also more likely to face challenges in completing verification, causing them to lose the financial aid they need to pay for college. However, with the use of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, any data element that is transferred unmodified from the IRS onto the FAFSA will not be subject to verification. This will significantly reduce the number of FAFSAs selected for verification, helping more low-income students to qualify for need-based financial aid.
  • Low-income students tend to file the FAFSA later than middle- and high-income students. Students who file the FAFSA earlier tend to qualify for more grants than students who file the FAFSA later, because some aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis and some states and colleges have very early FAFSA deadlines for their financial aid funds. The earlier start date may encourage low-income students to file the FAFSA sooner, helping them meet more state and college deadlines. Nine states will still award state grants on a first-come, first-served basis, but the 12 or so states with February and March deadlines have not yet moved up those deadlines.

Note that if there is a significant drop in income from the prior-prior year to the prior year, applicants cannot substitute prior-year income for prior-prior year income, even if it is available. The prior-year income, and now the prior-prior year income, are proxies for income during the academic year. However, families experiencing a decrease in income can and should appeal to the college financial aid administrator for a professional judgment review, arguing that their prior-prior year income is not reflective of ability to pay during the award year. The financial aid administrator can choose to substitute an estimate of income (and income taxes) during the award year for the prior-prior year income and taxes, when the student and/or family have experienced a sustained decrease in income. If the family normally has volatile income from one year to the next, as is common among small business owners, the financial aid administrator can choose to substitute an average of income during the last 3-5 years.

To help low-income students take advantage of the switch to prior-prior year, counselors and colleges must encourage them to file the FAFSA, to file the FAFSA sooner and to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to simplify the application process. This will help more low-income students qualify for grants, which will help more of them enroll in and graduate from college.

College financial aid administrators should also consider distributing financial aid award letters and notifications earlier. Even a few weeks earlier, in early March, will students and their families with more time to choose a college before the May 1 National Candidates Reply Date. It will also allow more time for families to prepare for college costs and for financial aid administrators to counsel students and parents.

 

Scholarships

June Scholarships 2016

No Comments 19 May 2016

Here comes summer! (And the deadlines for these scholarships in June!)   As always, make sure to check the full scholarship page to see if you meet all the qualifications and to get more information about competitiveness, level of effort to apply and more.

Want to get matched with even more scholarships just for you?  Make sure you’ve registered with College Greenlight and completed your profile as much as possible and don’t forget to apply for the Summer Challenge Scholarship!

 

 

MJSA Education Foundation Jewelry Scholarship

SCHOLARSHIP OVERVIEW
This scholarship is for students who are pursuing a jewelry-related curriculum. Although this scholarship is administered by the Rhode Island Foundation, applicants are not required to be Rhode Island residents to qualify.

DEADLINE: Jun 3
AWARD RANGE: $500 – $2,000

 

Abbott & Fenner Scholarship

This scholarship is for high school juniors and seniors as well as students currently registered at an accredited college or university. To qualify, applicants must submit an essay discussing their educational career and life goals.

DEADLINE: Jun 10
AVERAGE AWARD: $1,000

 

Ted Rollins Eco Scholarship

SCHOLARSHIP OVERVIEW
This scholarship is for students who are majoring in fields related to sustainability. Applicants must take at least 10 credit hours during the fall 2016 semester and write a 500-word essay on a given topic

DEADLINE: Jun 15
AVERAGE AWARD: $1,000

 

Digital Marketing Scholarship
SCHOLARSHIP OVERVIEW
This scholarship is for students who plan to or currently major in a field related to digital marketing. Applicants must write a 500-word essay on a given topic. See website for further deta

DEADLINE: Jun 15
AVERAGE AWARD: $1,000

 

Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCDHH)

SCHOLARSHIP OVERVIEW
This contest is for hearing impaired students through grade 12 in the United States and Canada, to CEGEP in Quebec and grade 13 in the Caribbean.

DEADLINE: Jun 15
AVERAGE AWARD: $2,500

 

Liberty Scholarship & Leadership Program

SCHOLARSHIP OVERVIEW
This scholarship is sponsored by the National Liberty Museum, an institution dedicated to honoring heroes of liberty throughout history and encouraging future leaders. It is open to Liberty Scholar Members of the Museum.

DEADLINE: Jun 15
AWARD RANGE: $500 – $7,500

 

Rosemary Quigley Memorial Scholarship

SCHOLARSHIP OVERVIEW
This scholarship is for students with cystic fibrosis who are pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees. To qualify, applicants must have a clear sense of life goals and a commitment to living life to the fullest, despite having cystic fibrosis.

DEADLINE: Jun 17
AWARD RANGE: $500 – $2,000

 

ICCF General Scholarship Fund

SCHOLARSHIP OVERVIEW
This scholarship is for children of code enforcement employees. The jurisdictional authority must be an active governmental member of the International Code Council.

DEADLINE: Jun 24
AVERAGE AWARD: $2,500

 

William J. Tangye Scholarship
SCHOLARSHIP OVERVIEW
This scholarship is for children of active members of the International Code Council or children of code enforcement agency personnel employed by an active governmental member of the International Code Council.
DEADLINE: Jun 24
AVERAGE AWARD: $2,500

 

Navigate Your Future Scholarship

SCHOLARSHIP OVERVIEW
This scholarship is for high school seniors who are planning a career in the general aviation field.

DEADLINE: Jun 24
AVERAGE AWARD: $2,500

 

Rimington Trophy Scholarship

SCHOLARSHIP OVERVIEW
This scholarship is for students with cystic fibrosis who demonstrate scholastic ability, character, leadership, service to the community, need for financial assistance, and daily compliance to CF therapy.

DEADLINE: Jun 24
AWARD RANGE: $1,000 – $2,000

 

Chief Manuelito Scholarship for High School Graduates

SCHOLARSHIP OVERVIEW
This scholarship is for Navajo high school graduates who have completed required Navajo Language and Navajo Government courses prior to graduating from high school.

DEADLINE: Jun 25
AVERAGE AWARD: $7,000