Educating Students on Financing College

There are thousands of websites and other resources that offer information on financial planning for college, but the quality of information varies widely, and students are often overwhelmed by the amount of options available. In this section, we list only the cream of the crop – the online resources and tools that we think are the most user-friendly, informative, and unique.

Click below to find more information and resources on the topic of interest to you:

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the most important part of the financial aid process – if your student doesn’t successfully submit their application by the March 2nd deadline, they will be unlikely to receive any federal or state financial aid! The FAFSA has an intimidating reputation, but with the proper training, it shouldn’t be difficult to fill out. These handouts will help you demonstrate why the FAFSA is so important, and will guide students through the details of the FAFSA application process.
The Cal Grant is a unique opportunity for California students, which can pay for the entire tuition at a UC, CSU, or CA community college. Unfortunately, many students who are entitled to a Cal Grant miss out on it!  In order to receive a Cal Grant, students must successfully complete the FAFSA or Cal DREAM Application, and submit a GPA verification form. This section includes resources that will help you to help your students secure their Cal Grants.

Scholarships

These resources will help your students search for scholarship money, without spamming or scamming them.  Finding and applying for scholarships can be very time-consuming and stressful for students, so these resources will help them make sure they are only applying to the best-suited and most relevant scholarships.

Loans

Student loans are probably the most intimidating and confusing part of the financial aid process. Bad decisions about loans can end up costing students thousands of dollars over many years. These resources will help your students understand their loan options, then make smart decisions about their repayment strategies.

Many students and families have no idea about how to decide which school is the best for them financially, academically, and culturally. Often, the “sticker price” of a college is very different than the total price including financial aid, so the school that initially seemed more expensive may actually cost less! This section includes tools and resources that help families compare these net costs and make a smart decision!

Foster Youth

Foster students have extra financial opportunities and legal protections in California, but filing for financial aid is especially complicated, and they will require assistance from their social workers, counselors, and college financial aid officers. Foster students qualify for free money through the Chafee Grant, which can be worth up to $5,000 a year for career and technical training or college.

Undocumented Students

Under the new California DREAM Act, if a student does not have a citizen social security number, but has attended a California high school for at least three years and will graduate or receive a GED or CHSPE certification, he or she may be able to take advantage of California state financial aid, such as the Cal Grant or BOG fee waiver. These students should fill out the CA DREAM Application, rather than the FAFSA. This section will help you better advise these students.

Nontraditional Families

Many students do not live in traditional nuclear joint-custody family situations.  For students who live with extended family members or unrelated individuals, non-custodial parents, or split time living with separated parents, financial aid applications can be extremely confusing.