Seniors are starting to hear from the colleges that they applied to, with most acceptance decisions being sent out by colleges by mid to late March. College bound students (and parents!) will start becoming more interested in ways to fund their college expenses. Here is a basic overview of what types of financial aid are available to Leigh students and how they can access these resources.
There are four types of college funding available to students:
Federal Aid - Includes grants (doesn’t have to be repaid), low interest loans (to be repaid), and work-study (programs where students work to earn money to help pay for school). All students should apply for FAFSA in order to be considered for all of these types of federal and California state aid. Additional information on Federal Aid programs can be found here. After applying, students and colleges receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). Colleges match admission records with the FAFSA application info to determine aid eligibility for admitted students. Note that students who are non-citizens holding a Social Security card issued through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or some other work authorization should fill out the California Dream Act Application instead.
State Aid - Cal Grants are available for four-year colleges as well as for technical, vocational, or career education. The grant money does not need to be repaid and can be used at any UC, CSU, or qualifying independent and career/technical colleges in California. The process starts with the FAFSA and follows the same process with students receiving an additional California Aid Report (CAR). Students can create a WebGrants4Students account to view their Cal Grant status.
Scholarships/Aid from Colleges - Colleges often have their own resources for financial aid/scholarships (both need and merit based) that are specific to their campuses. Students need to visit the websites of colleges that they are considering for more information. Some colleges and scholarship programs (mostly private universities) require that a CS Profile is submitted. This requires a $25 fee and is much more detailed than the FAFSA application, so students should research whether the colleges that they are interested in require it. Students should apply for aid regardless of their financial circumstances - high cost private colleges may have more ability to assist students in various financial situations. The CS Profile application is found on the College Board website.
Scholarships from Non-Profit and Private Organizations - These can be merit/academic based and/or need based and typically are not subject to repayment although each scholarship has its own requirements. Naviance is updated weekly with scholarships that come in to Leigh directly - these are mainly local scholarship opportunities. Students can search in Naviance for these scholarships under the Colleges tab, Scholarships and Money section, Scholarship List or Scholarship Match. The same info is filed in the CCC Scholarship Binder. There is also a National Scholarship tool for students in Naviance under the same Scholarship and Money section. It provides info on scholarships nationwide and is run by Sallie Mae. There are other websites to help students search for scholarships nationwide, including https://www.scholarships.com and fastweb.com and http://www.finaid.org. There are also some resources available on Facebook at Paying for College 101 and Paying for College. There are many scholarship search resources available for free, so be careful about resources requiring a fee payment.