“What information do I need to complete the FAFSA?”  “Am I a dependent or independent student?”  “Who do I list as my parent?”

These are all valid questions that may come up as you work through the financial aid process.  Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid has several resources available to help answer these questions and many more.  Here are a few resources that may help ease the process for you:

For more resources and informational videos, visit the Office of Federal Student Aid’s Resources page and their Youtube channel .

Don’t miss your college’s priority filing deadline!  The federal deadline is June 30, 2015, but your financial aid office will need the results much sooner.  Missing your college’s deadline could mean the loss of thousands of dollars of financial aid.  For a list of FAFSA priority deadlines for Virginia colleges, click here.

Happy Financial Aid Awareness Month! Celebrate by completing your FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov.

So you’ve made it through the difficult task of deciding the colleges to which you would like to apply … congratulations!  But your work is not over yet; in addition to completing the admission applications, be sure to apply for financial aid to help pay for college. Financial aid can come in a number of forms such as grants, scholarships, work-study, and loans, and from a number of sources, but there is one common factor required for most federal and state financial aid programs – filing of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Some institutions may require another application (such as an institutional scholarship application or summer aid application); for a listing of the required forms and priority filing dates for institutions participating in Virginia financial aid programs, see http://www.schev.edu/students/financialAidAppDeadlines.asp. The FAFSA is available online at www.fafsa.gov.

If you need help completing the FAFSA, be sure to mark your calendars for Super FAFSA Week 2014 events being held at over 60 locations throughout Virginia during the week of February 1-8, 2014:

Super FAFSA Week (formerly Super Saturday) is a service project offered by the Virginia Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (VASFAA) where individuals seeking funding for postsecondary education receive FREE, professional assistance in completing the FAFSA.

For a list of Super FAFSA Week locations, event details, as well as a list of materials that students should bring to receive assistance, please visit www.vasfaa.org/super.

Also, download our FREE mobile app at http://guidebook.com/g/Easyas123/ to keep up with Super FAFSA Week information.

Planning to attend a private college or university in Virginia? Good news! Virginia residents wishing to attend a private institution within the Commonwealth may be eligible to receive a Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant (VTAG).

In 1972, the Commonwealth of Virginia created VTAG as a way to assist residents who attend accredited private, nonprofit colleges and universities in Virginia. VTAG is a non-need based grant and is available to undergraduate students as well as graduate students enrolled in health-related professional programs.

For a list of participating institutions and program requirements, download the VTAG brochure.  To apply, download the 2014-15 VTAG application.

The annual deadline to apply is July 31st.

Avoid being scammed!

There’s a reason the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has “Free” in its title – you shouldn’t have to pay money to get money! When completing the FAFSA, be sure to go to fafsa.ed.gov and avoid any websites containing “fafsa” and ending in “.com” in its URL.

For information on how to avoid financial aid and scholarship scams, visit the Federal Trade Commission online at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0082-scholarship-and-financial-aid-scams.

From finding the best fit, to meeting application deadlines, to figuring out how to pay for it all—the college process can be daunting and intimidating. There is help! Virginia is offering a series of three collaborative events designed to help guide Virginia students and their families through this process.

Mark your calendars!

  • College Nights in Virginia – November 1-15, 2013.
    For more information, visit www.collegenights.org.
  •  Virginia College Application Week – November 18-22, 2013.
    For more information, email iamtheoneva@gmail.com.
  •  Super FAFSA Week – February 1-8, 2014.
    For more information, visit www.vasfaa.com/super.

See the flyer for more details.

1-2-3 Flyer

Easy as 1-2-3!

Opportunities Await!

Interested in finding out more about the financial aid opportunities available to Virginians? Check out ECMC’s 2013-14 guide (http://www.ecmc.org/details/opportunities.html), which highlights federal financial aid programs and provides guidance about the financial aid process.

Known as the Opportunities Preparing for College Guide and Workbook, this booklet explains the types of financial aid available and eligibility requirements for federal programs. It also includes information about applying for financial aid and estimating college costs as well as a timeline for what students and parents/families should be doing to successfully navigate through the financial aid process.

Both English and Spanish versions are available.


Have you subtracted your financial aid awards from your college tuition bill to find that you still have a remaining balance? If so, don’t panic!

Many colleges offer convenient tuition payment plans to assist you with paying your remaining balance. These plans usually divide your semester costs (tuition, on-campus housing, dining, and fees) into manageable installments throughout the semester.

To find out what payment plan options are available at your college, contact your college’s student accounting or financial aid office. Make sure to ask about requirements and costs for participation as payment plans may require that you apply by a certain deadline and pay a small fee to enroll. When reviewing your options, choose a plan that best fits your needs.

Also, be aware of and prepared to pay for expenses that are most likely not included on your bill, such as books, supplies, and off-campus housing (if applicable). If you need assistance paying these expenses, contact your college’s financial aid office to inquire about alternatives.


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