Financial Aid Ideas/Basics #1 - FAFSA (www.fafsa.ed.gov) - Whether students file their taxes as dependents or an independents it's important to fill out the FAFSA. Students can get financial aid from the government in the form of grants, work study or the last choice in financial aid....loans. You must first obtain a PIN number via the FAFSA PIN website (www.pin.ed.gov). Apply for the actual FAFSA, ASAP after January 1, 2010. #2 - Medical Lake High School Webpage/Cardinal 411/Dollars For Scholars – A.) Medical Lake High School Webpage – Check the Medical Lake High School webpage at www.mlsd.org. Click on Medical Lake High School under the “Schools” tab. Then click on the Financial Aid heading on the left column. There are a variety of scholarships listed as well as links to scholarship search engines. B.) Cardinal 411 – There will be a monthly newsletter called the Cardinal 411 distributed in all the Senior Social Studies classes including CWP, Aerospace 7/8, and AP European History. The Cardinal 411 is a student-written newsletter with scholarship ideas, important dates/deadlines and counselor information. C.) Dollars For Scholars – Dollars for Scholars is a tremendous opportunity for students to obtain scholarships. The scholarship money is generated through generous local community fundraisers and private donations. There will be a common application for all the Dollars For Scholars scholarships. The application is distributed to all the Senior Social Studies classes. There will also be an electronic copy on the Counselor’s Office webpage on the Medical Lake High School website. Extra hard copies will also be kept in the Counseling Office. #3 - Scholarships at specific colleges - Every college has a financial aid department and their first response is to ask you if you have filled out the FAFSA. Then some colleges can direct you to scholarships from the school or specific areas of study at the schools. Some private donors give money to schools for students who are a minority or study specific programs at schools. #4 - Scholarship Search Engines - FastWeb is one example of a scholarship search engine. I have not had much success with these, but they are an option. One program through the Univ. of Oregon is CIS (http://oregoncis.uoregon.edu/) <User name - Life ; Password - Plan> You can click on the Financial Aid Sort under the pink Exploration Tools heading. NOTE: Most of the scholarships may be listed as a scholarship only for students in the State of Oregon, but some are nation-wide. NEW!! Check out www.thewashboard.org for a scholarship search engine specifically for high school students in Washington State. #5 - Merit Based Scholarships vs. "Regular" Scholarships - Some schools (more on the private school end) offer scholarships for students without application based on their academic status and test scores (i.e. 3.5+ GPA with a 1100 on the SATs) or schools offer scholarships based on athletic ability and programs of study. Other scholarships are the more traditional scholarships online or in paper form that have specific guidelines for award. (i.e. Undergraduate scholarship for a student who is interested in chemical engineering) NOTE: You also want to look at if the scholarship is continuing or not. Some scholarships you have to apply for every school year (you must fill out the FAFSA every year) and some scholarships are automatically awarded every year that the student is at the college. #6- Work Study - Filling out the FAFSA sometimes awards students Work Study money. This is money that the school agrees to pay to the student for an on-campus job (i.e. student mailboxes, help desk). The school pays half the paycheck and the government pays half the paycheck. These are very valuable and convenient for students that qualify. #7 - Loans - This is usually the last choice for students and families, but is still a viable option for students as a sort of long-term investment. Yes I will have to pay this money back over possibly a long period of time, but the education I will get will allow me to get a job (hopefully) that will allow me to earn money to live in the way that I want.
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