Financial aid is available to families who need assistance. Most students who apply to college must consider applying for financial aid as an integral part of the college application and selection process. Each school will have specific requirements for financial aid, so it is vital that you read the information contained in each application.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
All students applying for federal financial aid must file the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1 of the application year (student’s senior year) There is filing date change for the high school class of 2017 to October 1st of the senior year. Analysis of the information on this form will determine eligibility for Federal Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG), Federal Work Study, Federal Perkins Loans, Stafford Loans (subsidized and un-subsidized) and other federal and state programs. Many states, while requiring their own forms, will also require the FAFSA to award state grants to a student. Some scholarships also require that the FAFSA be filled out by all those who apply. You can file the FAFSA online. There is no cost to process the application.
To start the FAFSA process click here
The Financial Aid Package
Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is determined after income and assets are reviewed. Allowances are made for the number of family members, the number of children in college, necessary expenses, etc. Typically, you are asked to contribute a portion of your personal savings and other assets. Should you receive merit-based awards from organizations outside of the college, these are considered a part of your available resources and may be applied to the self-help portion of your aid package. Consideration is also given to special financial circumstances (illness, older parents approaching retirement, or special educational needs). Be certain that colleges are aware of any unusual circumstances that may exist in your family.
PLEASE NOTE: Colleges can have different policies regarding parents who are separated, divorced and/or remarried, but most time the family needs to use the financial information of the parent that they live with most in the last year. If 50/50 then the parent who has contributed the most financially in the last year. Always ask and read the fine print.
Student Services frequently receives scholarship applications in the mail from various agencies. The hard copy of the application is filed in the scholarship drawer in Student Services and also posted on Naviance. If you would like to be nominated for a scholarship, please see Student Services.
There is an array of scholarships that are not connected to particular schools and which present a range of eligibility requirements. Some include financial need as one of the criteria for selection; other focus entirely on academic performance and ACT/SAT scores. Some require essays on specific topics, college attendance in Wisconsin, parental employment by particular companies, membership in an organization, a commitment to entering a given field, athletics, submission of tapes for artistic ability or performance or nothing but an interest in becoming part of a lottery.
It takes a lot of work to research scholarships. Most scholarships will be available December-March of the senior year. We list all the scholarships that Student Services receives on Naviance. All hard copies of scholarships can be found in the Scholarship Drawer located in the LRC of Student Services or posted on Naviance. It is wise to check often, as we get new scholarships weekly.
Each college website will be the best place to find this information on all types of aid available at that school. Some institutions award aid only on the basis of documented financial need. Others however, will add assistance that is not based on need to financial aid packages in order to attract and enroll highly desirable students. Still others will have an extensive program of merit aid awarded entirely without regard for financial need but requiring an exemplary academic record and high test scores, a commitment to an area of study, involvement in specific high school activities or membership in a particular racial or ethnic group. In some cases students must apply separately for merit scholarships, in others the scholarship application is the college application.