College Planning - Financial Aid & Scholarships
College Financial Aid & Scholarships
SCHOLARSHIPS: Thousands of scholarship opportunities are available through many websites. Students and parents are advised to search the following free sites for information and applications: www.scholarshipexperts.com, www.scholarships.com, and www.fastweb.com. For some specific scholarship listings, go to the Independent Scholarship document at the bottom of this page. Information, criteria and award amounts for the TENNESSEE LOTTERY SCHOLARSHIPS can be accessed at www.TN.gov/collegepays. The FAFSA form is the only application for the Lottery awards, which include the HOPE Scholarships.
FINANCIAL AID is usually awarded in a "package," which can consist of one or all of the following components: a scholarship or grant (usually directly from the university) which does not need to be repaid, a loan (usually from federal or state money), and an on-campus job. Distribution is based on financial need. Each college offers an Award Letter, either by email or regular mail, to students in early spring of the senior year. Most financial assistance is administered through the Financial Aid Office of individual colleges. In most instances this will require the family to file some combination of the following three forms:
1) Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): This document is filed after January 1 fo the student's senior year.The Federal government will process this form free of charge. Almost every college or university requires the FAFSA, if the family wants to be considered for any kind of financial assistance. It asks families to supply information about their income and assets and is most easily filled out using a completed tax return. The FAFSA will be available online in early January of the senior year, and may be filed electronically at www.fafsa.ed.gov.
2) College Board’s PROFILE form: Many private colleges and universities require more information than the FAFSA can provide. Therefore, many of these schools will ask the financial aid applicant to complete the CSS PROFILE. Go to www.collegeboard.com for specific information. A processing fee is charged.
3) Institutional Forms: Some colleges have their own form, in addition to the FAFSA and the PROFILE. Because colleges often differ in their requirements to receive financial aid, students should contact the financial aid office at the schools they wish to attend to determine which forms are necessary.
Early Decision Plans
An Early Decision (ED) agreement requires that, if admitted, the student will attend that institution. Because these applications must usually be filed in the fall months, the college considers only grades through the end of your junior year or the first quarter of your senior year. Colleges have three options under ED: they will admit you, defer your application for further review, or deny you admission. Because an ED application is a commitment to attend the institution if admitted, you may submit only one ED application. If admitted to your ED school, you must promptly withdraw all other applications. If you file an ED application and are admitted, you are honor-bound to follow through with your commitment to attend.
Early Action Plans
This application plan allows the student to receive the admissions decision from a college early, without the obligation to attend if admitted. Students applying under Early Action (EA) may apply to other colleges and have until May 1 to choose the college at which they will enroll. As with the Early Decision plan, colleges have three options. They will admit you, defer your application for further review, or deny you admission. NOTE: Some schools with EA plans do not allow students to file both an EA application and an ED application to another institution, or to file more than one EA application. It is your responsibility to know and to follow each school’s rules.
College Visit Policy
If you must miss class for a college visit, be sure to secure permission 4 days prior to being absent from the High School Attendance Office. The absence will not be excused otherwise.