card header iconUpcoming Financial Aid Events and Deadlines:

Cash for College Workshop -  Receive assistance in completing your FAFSA, Dream Act, or Chafee Financial Aid. Check the Cash for College link to find other workshops near you.  Oct 1 through March 2
 
  • DISTRICT FINANCIAL AID NIGHT IS THURSDAY OCTOBER 4th at 6pm in the Nevada Union HS  Baggett Theatre
  • DISTRICT CASH FOR COLLEGE WORKSHOP IS SATURDAY, OCT 13th at 9:00am in the Nevada Union HS Cafe.  ****IMPORTANT:  PLEASE GO ONLINE TO  to pre-register https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm for both a student and a separate parent FSA ID.  MUST be done at least 2 days prior to the Saturday workshop.
 
FAFSA Deadline - March 2  (High School Seniors- you may submit the FAFSA as early as October 1 of your senior year).  Recommend you attend the Cash for College Workshop before completing the FAFSA.   
 
  • SIERRA COLLEGE in GRASS VALLEY  IS HOSTING FAFSA WORKSHOPS.  Please check in with the college for these dates and they are free to attend.   FLYER
 
 
CSS Profile - May also be required by some colleges and universities (typically private colleges).  There is a legitimate fee associated with filing the CSS Profile.  The window for submission typically opens October 1 and is due by the financial aid deadline of the college for which you are applying.      
 

BestColleges.com researched and compiled information on financial aid opportunities for minority students. You can check out our findings below:

Ella Johnston | ellajohnston@bestcolleges.com
Outreach Coordinator | BestColleges.com

901 5th Avenue, Suite 3220 | Seattle, WA 98164 | Facebook | Twitter

BestColleges.com partners with HigherEducation.com to provide students with direct connections to schools and programs suiting their educational goals. We also host a wide array of free college planning, financial aid, and career resources to help all students get the most from their education and prepare for the world after college.
 
 
 
 

card header iconCalifornia Dream Act

 
California Dream Act: AB 540 eligible students attending college in California may apply for and receive student financial aid from both publicly (including Cal Grants) and privately funded sources.  Students may complete the Dream Act Application online for 2018-2019 assistance at http://www.caldreamact.org in lieu of the FAFSA.  Check the California Dream Act Application Worksheet for more details.  Student's GPA must still be submitted (without a social security number) from their high school.  Check your eligibility for Federal Financial Aid if you are a non-U.S. citizen.    
 
The California Student Aid Commission (Commission) notified Financial Aid Administrators and High School Counselors that the parent signature option of the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) is not functioning properly when using the Mozilla Firefox browser.  The following web browsers should be used for optimal compatibility *Microsoft Internet Explorer version 9.0 or higher *Google Chrome version 24.0 or higher *Apple Safari version 5.0 or higher. 
 
Who are undocumented students?  Financial Aid information and undocumented students. En Espanol
 
Male students may also register for the Selective Service through the California Dream Act Application.  Solicitud Dream Act de California Applicacion en Espanol  
A thumbnail of hundred dollar bills 
 

card header iconEOP (Education Opportunity Program)

Educational Opportunity Program or EOP:  Only historically low-income and educationally disadvantaged undergraduate students who need admission assistance or support services to succeed in college are admitted to EOP.  They must demonstrate academic potential and motivation, be California residents or qualify for an AB540 nonresident tuition exemption, and meet the income criteria stated.  (All CSU's have the EOP Program).  

card header iconFINANCIAL AID FOR MILITARY DEPENDENTS

If you are a dependent of a California military veteran, you may qualify for tuition fee waiver under the California College Fee Waiver program (formerly known as Cal Vet Program).  California College Fee Waiver Application.


You may qualify for all resident tuition & fees for a public school or the higher of the actual tuition & fess or $17,500 per academic year for a private school under the Post 9/11 GI Bill Yellow Ribbon Program.  Institutions that voluntarily enter into a Yellow Ribbon Agreement with VA choose the amount of tuition and fees that will be contributed. VA will match that amount and issue payment directly to the institution.  Only veterans entitled to the maximum benefit rate (based on service requirements) or their designated transferees may receive this funding. Active duty service members and their spouses are not eligible for this program (child transferees of active duty service members may be eligible if the service member is qualified at the 100% rate).  Therefore, you may be eligible if:

  • You served an aggregate period of active duty after September 10, 2001, of at least 36 months;
  • You were honorably discharged from active duty for a service connected disability and you served 30 continuous days after September 10, 2001;
  • You are a dependent eligible for Transfer of Entitlement under the Post-9/11 GI Bill based on a veteran’s service under the eligibility criteria listed above.

 For elegible military dependents, you may also qualify for the GI Survivors and Dependents Assistance (DEA).  The program offers up to 45 months of education benefits. These benefits may be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeship, and on-the-job training. Effective October 1, 2013 some DEA beneficiaries may be eligible for 81 months of GI Bill benefits if they are eligible for more than one education benefit. For more information click here.

For the Veterans Education Benefits and/or Chapter 35 use the VONAPP (Veterans Online Application).  The application forms in VONAPP are now available on www.vets.gov and on www.ebenefits.va.gov.  Due October 1.  

card header iconAPPLICATIONS AND FORMS REQUIRED FOR FINANCIAL AID

LOANS  Click here for information on Direct Parent PLUS Loans Brochure or Direct Parent Plus Loans, or for Direct (Student) Loans, to include subsidized and unsubsidized.  You may want to review this quick reference guide on Loans as well.


CHAFEE GRANT Program is for students who are eligible or have been eligible for foster care between their 16th and 18th birthday.  This grant may be used for career and technical training or college courses.
 
CSS PROFILE is required by some private and out-of-state colleges and universities as well as some programs.  The application and list of colleges requiring the profile is available at CSS Profile beginning October 1.  There is a $25 fee for registration and reporting to one college.  Each additional college costs $16.  A limited number of fee waivers (for up to 8 colleges) are granted automatically (determined by information you input).  Fee waiver is for families with income of $45,000 or less, a student who used a fee waiver on an SAT test, or a student who is an orphan or a ward of the court under the age of 24.  Recommend file early.  Click here for INFORMATION NEEDED TO FILE THE CSS PROFILE AND LIST OF COLLEGES REQUIRING THE CSS PROFILE
 
 
CAL GRANT 
Find out Cal GRANT Income and Asset Ceilings.  

To check your CAL GRANT status, click here, then scroll down and "create an account."  Remember to keep your user ID and password in a safe place for following years.  Mark these two email addresses as safe:  calgrantoffice@csac.ca.gov and studentsupport@csac.ca.gov as they will use one of these to notify you as early as February of your Cal Grant eligibility.  If you are accepted to a program that is eligible for a 5th year Cal Grant, you must request this by submitting a Cal Grant 5th Year Benefits Request.   
 
 
If you feel an error has been made or you have a special circumstance that arises, an appeal to your Cal Grant status may be made and received by May 15.  Click here for the Cal Grant Appeal form.   

Re-qualifying for Cal Grants.  Governor Brown spearheaded a new senate bill requiring students must now re-qualify each year to receive their Cal Grant.  This is done by submitting a FAFSA verifying their income/assets have not exceeded the income/asset ceiling for their particular Cal Grant.  It is expected that the student will be making progess in school and keeping up their grades, but grades need not be reported.  
 
 
Changes Cal Grant Awards due to 2012 Budget:  Under the 2012 California State Budget, Cal Grants will be limited due to new performance standards measuring loan repayment and graduation rates at California schools, particularly "for-profit" colleges like Heald, WyoTech, etc.  Check here for eligible/ineligible colleges.  (UC and CSU's not impacted).   

Understand your Financial Aid Award Letter by using this FASTWEB guide.  Sample financial aid award letter (without numbers, but with definitions).  
The comprehensive high schools automatically submit your gpa, unless you have denied they do this.  Check with your high school Records department, if you are uncertain as to if your parents have signed a form denying the school to submit your GPA.  Along with the school filing your gpa with the California Student Aid Commission to be considered for Cal Grants, you must also file a FAFSA.     
 
FAFSA
Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for grants, loans, work study and college scholarships.  It is recommended you apply early October.  The filing period is between October 1 and March 2.  The deadline for each college may vary, though, so check with the colleges/universities for their financial aid deadline and submit by the earliest deadline required.  
 
With the FAFSA submission for 2018-2019, you may begin submitting the application as early as October 1, 2017 using the prior-prior year taxes (2016).   

As of May 2015, a PIN number is no longer used to submit a FAFSA.  Instead, you will now use an FSA ID, which consists of a user-created username and password.  It allows users to electronically access personal information on Federal Student Aid Web sites as well as electronically sign a FAFSA.  Enter your FSA ID (only the student should log in with an FSA ID), Or enter the student's name, Social Security Number and date of birth. (You may have to enter your FSA ID later in the process when you start this way).  An e-mail address cannot be used with more than one FSA ID.  You can use e-mail to unlock an FSA ID, retrieve a forgotten username or reset a password.  For security reasons, only the FSA ID owner should have these capabilities.  A dependent student will need to have one of his or her legal parents sign the student's FAFSA form, so the parent needs an FSA ID as well.  Parents also need one to apply for a Direct PLUS Loan on StudentLoans.gov.  If you need help with your FSA ID, please call 1-800-557-7394.  
 
It is important to understnad that the student and the parent may not share an FSA ID:  Your FSA ID is your signature, so it has to be unique to you.  
 
If you are a parent who doesn't have a Social Security number (SSN), you won't be able to create an FSA ID (which requires an SSN).  This means you will have to select the option to print a signature page when you get to the end of your child's FAFSA form. 
 
The FAFSA Application for 2018-19 is available here.  This is for your review.  Submitting electronically is the PREFERRED method.

The FAFSA on the Web Worksheet for 2018-2019 is now available.  The FAFSA on the Web Worksheet in Spanish for 2018-19 is available, too.  You will want to use the 2018-2019 for graduating seniors of the class of 2018. Be sure to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT)  to transfer your tax information to FAFSA.  This link will give you instructions on how to do this whether you have filed your taxes on paper or online.  
    

For answers to questions on completing the FAFSA, call 1-800-433-3243.

It works best if you supply the number of the question that you need help answering.  You can also contact them live, online, by selecting the Live Help button conveniently located within the pages of the application.  FAFSA on the Web Live Help's Customer Service hours are Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. (ET) except for Federal Holidays. 

Federal School Codes for the FAFSA may be located here.

Check here for a list of information needed to fill out the FAFSA.
 
 

card header iconFAFSA TIPS FOR YOU

  • Put the cursor in the box you are filling out on the FAFSA to receive a message box on the right hand side to assist you in filling out that item (How to or Help Information).

  • When you are listing the federal school codes, list a California College in one of the first 3 school codes submitted.  

  • When you list the federal school codes, you will be asked to specify where the student will be living:  on campus, with parents, or off campus housing.  This may be different for each college for which you list.  THIS DOES NOT REGISTER YOUR STUDENT FOR ON CAMPUS HOUSING.
  • When completing financial aid for college, you typically complete forms using the dates of the school year you will be attending college, not the school year you are a graduating senior.  When completing the district scholarship application, complete the form using the year that you are a graduating senior.

  • Seniors:  attend a "Cash for College Workshop" and receive help completing the FAFSA as well as an opportunity to potentially receive a $1,000 Scholarship.

card header iconHELPFUL INFORMATION!

card header iconFAFSA on Social Media

FAFSA information now on: They are offering monthly interactive session called #AskFAFSA Office Hours which takes place via @FAFSA Twitter account.
 

card header iconFAFSA & DECLARATION OF ASSETS

What your students should include and what they are not required to list as assets on the FAFSA.
Some students and families across the country often struggle with completing the FAFSA form. Questions often include items such as what to list and/or not list as assets on the form.
The following information was taken from the FAFSA for 2017-2018.  For more information refer to the FAFSA Asset Declaration 2017 -2018 Information, notes for questions 42-43, 45 (student) and 91-92 (parent).
 
 
List this:
  Not that:
Balance of Cash, Checking and Savings Accounts, Certificates of Deposit (CD's), (Do not include student financial aid)
Business and/or investment farm value includes market value of land, buildings, machinery, equipment, inventory, etc.  Business and/or investment farm debt means only those debts for which the business or investment farm was used as collateral.
 
Value of your family home
Investment Farm value does not include the value of a family farm that you (your spouse and/or your parents) live on and operate. 
Business value does not include the value of a small business if your family owns and controls more than 50% of the business and the business has 100 or fewer full-time or full-time equivalent employees.
 
Stocks, Stock Options & Bonds, Other Securities, Installment and land sale contracts (including mortgages held) Commodities, etc.  
  Value of Annuities
 
Mutual funds, Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) or Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA).  Do not include UGMA and UTMA accounts for which your parents are the custodian but not the owner.
  Life insurance plans
 
Money market accounts 
 
 
Non-education IRAs
  
Real estate investments 
 
 
401(k) plans
Trusts  
 
Keogh or other retirement plans, Pension Funds
 
Education savings accounts owned by your parents, including
Coverdell savings accounts,
529 College Savings Plan (ScholarsShare 529) and the refund value of 529 prepaid tuition plans
 
 
If 529 College Savings Plan (ScholarShare 529) is owned by someone other than parent or student, only include amount distributed (in question 45j), UGMA and UTMA accounts for which you are the custodian, but not the owner. 
 
* You must report contributions for the reporting tax year to any tax-deferred pension or savings plan.
 
*Starting with the 2017-2018 FAFSA application cycle, students or parents (if applicable) will be asked if they received Medicaid during 2015 or 2016. Medicaid has been added to the list of Means-Tested Benefits on the FAFSA. The list also includes SSI, SNAP (also known as CalFresh in California), Free or Reduced Price Lunch, TANF (also known as CalWORKS cash benefits in California), and WIC.
 
 

card header iconSAVING FOR COLLEGE

Check out information on saving for your child's education with Saving Early = Saving Smart! Watch Your Money Grow With Your Child Brochure.  Ahorrar desde temprano = Ahorrar de manera inteligente  En Espanol

Tax benefits and educational expenses
: Information on deductions for interest paid, American Opportunity Credit, Lifetime Learning Credit, Coverdell and 529 programs.  OR IRS Tax benefits and deductions.
 
For IRS clarification on Scholarships and taxation click here.      

Trusts and Financial Aid Information
. How to determine which trusts must be claimed and by whom.

Ways to Save for College
 to include Savings, Treasury Bonds, 529 Plan, Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, etc.
 

card header iconThe American Opportunity Credit

The American Opportunity Tax Credit- Update May 31, 2013 — to reflect the fact that the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which was to expire at the end of 2012, was extended through December 2017 by the Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012.

Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), more parents and students will qualify for a tax credit, the American Opportunity Tax Credit, to pay for college expenses.

The American Opportunity Tax Credit modifies the existing Hope Credit. The AOTC makes the Hope Credit available to a broader range of taxpayers, including many with higher incomes and those who owe no tax. It also adds required course materials to the list of qualifying expenses and allows the credit to be claimed for four post-secondary education years instead of two. Many of those eligible will qualify for the maximum annual credit of $2,500 per student.

The full credit is available to individuals whose modified adjusted gross income is $80,000 or less, or $160,000 or less for married couples filing a joint return. The credit is phased out for taxpayers with incomes above these levels. These income limits are higher than under the existing Hope and Lifetime Learning Credits.

The AOTC applied to tax years 2009 and 2010 under ARRA. The credit was extended to apply for tax years 2011 and 2012 by the Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2010. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 extended the AOTC for five years through December 2017.
 
You may also click here for additional information on American Opportunity Tax Credit.
 

card header iconRelated Files

 
 
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card header iconRelated Links

  • Tuition/Fee Information for UC's
        This chart estimates the cost of attending UC for one year as a California resident undergraduate. For a significant proportion of UC students, these expenses are offset by grants and scholarships. And UC's Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan ensures that, at a minimum, systemwide tuition and student services fees are covered for eligible students with parent total income of $80,000 or less.

  • UC Berkeley Middle Class Access Plan (MCAP)
        UC BERKELEY MIDDLE CLASS ACCESS PLAN (MCAP): The Berkeley Middle Class Access Plan (MCAP) is a new financial aid program to help middle-class families pay for the growing cost of an undergraduate degree. For families whose gross income ranges from $80,000 to $150,000 annually and who have typical assets, the groundbreaking plan caps the contribution parents make toward the total annual cost of a UC Berkeley student’s education at a maximum of 15 percent of their total income. Many parents in this income range will be asked to contribute less than the 15 percent cap. We encourage eligible families of both currently enrolled and prospective students to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application if they wish to be considered for the Berkeley Middle Class Access Plan. UC Berkeley began making MCAP awards in academic year 2012-13.          Please note:  The UC Berkeley's Middle Class Access Plan is different from the State of California-sponsored Middle Class Scholarship. http://financialaid.berkeley.edu/middle-class-access-plan