Have you been out touring colleges and wondered what Admission’s offices have meant when they spouted the terms “need-blind” and “need-aware” or “need-sensitive”? Do you know what the terms mean? Do you know which category your student’s colleges of interest fall into?
Many colleges have a “need-blind” admissions policy (as noted on their college websites, Harvard, Brown and the University of New Hampshire all utilize this method). In simple terms, the colleges promise not to consider the applicant’s or family’s ability to pay for that college. Admissions decisions and scholarship awards (if offered at that college) are based solely on the merits of the student’s application and overall ability to thrive at that school. Finances only come into play once the student has been accepted to the college. At this point, the financial aid office will be alerted that the student has been accepted and they will begin to review the financial aid applications and award the student monies based on their financial information. At that point, students and families must make the decision to accept or decline the offer of aid and admission to the college.
More and more colleges are becoming “need-aware” or “need-sensitive” (as noted on their college websites, colleges that utilize these methods include George Washington University and Clark University). These colleges are utilizing student and family finances as part of their admissions process. Some colleges are using this approach for all applicants and some will only consider a family’s ability to pay for the college once the college has spent their allotted financial aid budget. Either way, these colleges may be factoring in the family’s finances as part of their acceptance decision.
Many families ask, “Can a college do that?” “Can they look at a family’s finances before a student is even accepted?” And the answer is, yes, they can. They can’t choose to utilize this information for one family and not another, but if their policy is “need-aware” or “need-sensitive”, then they absolutely can factor family finances into their decision. On the same token, if they are “need-blind”, then they cannot use family finances to sway their admissions decision one way or the other.
So what do you do? Find out what approach your student’s colleges take. Look on their admissions pages and/or call their office. They will disclose their policy to you.
My suggestion? Make sure to apply to a few colleges that are “need-blind” if you plan to use financial aid, and some “need-aware” schools if you know you won’t be asking for financial assistance. Part of diversifying the colleges your student applies to does involve their overall cost to the family. “Need-blind” versus “need-aware” or “need-sensitive” is just one more variable to consider.
To meet in person with one of our college counselors at our Concord office, call 888.7.GRADUATE, ext. 119.
Keep asking questions!
Applying for financial aid is a multi-step process. Filing the FAFSA is the first major hurdle, but it doesn’t end there. Here’s what you have to do even after your initial FAFSA is filed.
1. Update your tax information on the FAFSA once your 2013 taxes are filed with the IRS. If you filed your FAFSA before your 2013 taxes were complete, you used estimates based on your 2012 tax information and end of year paystubs from 2013 to come up with a guess for your 3013 tax numbers. As soon as you have your 2013 finalized tax numbers, you do need to update the FAFSA to reflect the updated figures.
2. If at all possible, use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to synch your FAFSA with your 2013 tax information. When you log back into the FAFSA form to make updates and select the tax filing status “Already Completed”, you will receive the option to link to the IRS. If you e-filed your taxes more than 2-3 weeks ago, you may be able to extract some answers directly from your tax forms and transfer it over to your FAFSA. It saves time and an additional step if you are able to link from one form to the other. And so easy to do!
3. Read all material sent from the colleges. They may need additional documents from you to verify information you have already provided. The longer it takes you to send the necessary information, the longer the financial aid process is delayed at that college. And remember to check snail mail, email, and any online portal a school may be using to communicate with you.
4. Thoroughly analyze the financial aid award packages your student receives from their colleges. Each college’s award letter (their offer of aid to attend their school) will look slightly different. Familiarize yourself with the free money, any federal and private student loans and what is really the out-of-pocket cost to attend each college. Knowing this information will allow you to make an informed college decision. It’s important to remember to consider college is a multi-year investment, so remember to think about the long-term financial impact and plan accordingly. If you would like help analyzing the award letters, our college counselors meet with families for free in our Concord office. Call 888.7.GRADUATE, ext. 119 to schedule your appointment.
5. .Keep applying for outside, or private, scholarships from local and regional sources. Deadlines are fast approaching, but there is still time. Any amount of money that you can secure from outside scholarships will help you lower your overall college costs. Check with your guidance office for a list of scholarships – and remember to check our scholarship website, www.nh93.com!
The end is in sight, but it’s not here yet. Keep plugging away and work to cross items off of your financial aid to-do list. And remember, the Center for College Planning is always here to help. Call 888.7.GRADUATE, ext. 119 with any financial aid and college funding questions.
The Alice M. Yarnold and Samuel Yarnold Scholarship Trust was established for the purpose of providing funds for those New Hampshire residents with an interest and desire to pursue post-secondary school education in the fields of nursing, medicine or social work, but who because of financial circumstances would be otherwise unable or restricted to do so.
The scholarships to be awarded are anticipated to be $1,000 to $5,000 annually over a one to four year period.
To be considered, applicants must fill out an application, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, send a certified copy of your transcript from your high school or college and submit two letters of recommendation. Applications are due by May 19, 2014.
For more information, and the application, please click here.
Think again! In the Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program, young volunteers ranging from age 6 – 18 (as of March 15, 2014) who have not yet graduated from high school are eligible for up to $10,000 in scholarships! In order to qualify, young people have to be nominated by someone over age 21, and parents can nominate their children.
Nominations must be received by 11:59 p.m. on March 14, 2014. Recipients will be notified of their award in May or June.
For more information, and to nominate someone for this scholarship opportunity, visit http://kohls.scholarshipamerica.org/
Nominate your young volunteer today!
The Concord Hospital Trust Scholarship Fund has been made possible by the generosity of Concord Hospital's many benefactors. It was their vision to inspire and enable students to pursue careers in the nursing and allied health care professions to enrich their lives, while ensuring the continued availability of quality health care to the Greater Concord community. The Scholarships are available to deserving students pursuing careers primarily in nursing. Funds also are available on a limited basis to students pursuing careers in various qualifying fields of allied health care.
To be eligible to receive an award from the Concord Hospital Trust Scholarship Fund, an applicant must meet the following eligibility requirements:
• Applicant must be a resident within the Concord Hospital service area for a period of at least one year as of the application deadline, or have graduated from a High School within the Concord Hospital service area.
• Applicants who have earned a GED also are eligible.
• Applicant must have been accepted into the nursing or allied health care program of an accredited institution.
Scholarships are awarded on the basis of: financial need, academic merit, personal character and other criteria as determined by the Scholarship Committee. Scholarships are awarded annually. Recipients must have successfully completed one semester in their nursing or allied health care program to receive payment. Funds not used within 12 months of award will be returned to the Scholarship Fund.
Multiple scholarships will be awarded. Awards may range from $1,000 - $3,000.
For more information, and their application, visit www.ch-trust.org
Well not for long! Whether your vacation is this upcoming week, or the week after, you want to make the best use of your time. Yes, you should spend some time relaxing and catching up with friends; it is called a vacation after all! But you should also devote a good chunk of time to college planning.
So what types of things should you do? Tour colleges, of course! Current high school seniors can use this time to make another round at the colleges. Did you travel to schools during the summer and didn’t get a good feel for what it’s like while college is in session? Do you want to walk the campus, sit in on classes, etc. for a second time to help solidify your decision? All great reasons to head back out to a college or two at the top of your list.
If you’re a high school junior, now is a great time to start getting your college list together. With college students attending classes in February, you will really get a great feel for what that campus is typically like on any given day. By starting to tour colleges earlier on in the process you have time to narrow down what you like, and don’t like, in a college. Size, location, campus setting, etc. all can either add to, or subtract from, your overall impression of a college.
Want to tour a college, but you’re not quite sure what information is important, what you should ask while on the tour and how to schedule one? Read this article highlighting some tips and tricks to the college tour.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a free copy of our 2013-2014 College Insider publication. And call 888.7.GRADUATE, ext. 119 to schedule your 60 minute college planning appointment with one of our college counselors.
Now get touring!
Here is another scholarship opportunity!
Peoplesmart is running an essay contest on the subject of privacy in the 21st century and what it means to the current generation of high school seniors. The contest winner will receive $2,500 and his or her essay will be published on the PeopleSmart website and blog. Submissions are being accepted until April 30th, 2014 and the winner will be announced on June 1.
For full contest information and to submit your essay, please visit http://www.peoplesmart.com/PeopleSmartScholarshipContest
Best of luck,
Before there was an airplane, there were doodles of cool flying machines. And before there was a submarine, there were doodles of magical underwater sea explorers. Since the beginning of time, ideas big and small, practical and playful, have started out as doodles. And they’re ready for more. One talented young artist will see his or her artwork on the Google homepage and receive a $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 Google for Education technology grant for his or her school.
In addition, there are other prizes for national finalists, state winners and state finalists. Visit http://www.google.com/doodle4google/prizes.html for a full listing of their prizes. Entries must be received by March 20, 2014.
Doodles will be grouped and judged by the following grade groups:
1. Grades K-3
2. Grades 4-6
3. Grades 6-7
4. Grades 8-9
5. Grades 10-12
The theme is "If I Could Invent One Thing to Make the World a Better Place...". Applicants are judged on a number of criteria. To view the full listing, including reasons for disqualifications, click here.
Best of luck,
Unitil, a local provider of natural gas and electricity, is now accepting applications from graduating high school seniors who will pursue an undergraduate degree in the STEM subject areas—science, technology, engineering, and math. Unitil is committed to supporting STEM education and to helping local students succeed.
Unitil will award six $5,000 scholarships to students graduating within their service territories in New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts. Students who live and attend school in one of Unitil’s service territories, who will also be pursuing a bachelor’s degree in a STEM subject area, are encouraged to apply for this scholarship opportunity.
To learn more and to apply, please visit Unitil’s website, http://unitil.com/scholarship. Only applications from students in Unitil’s service territories will be considered. To check your eligibility, please visit http://www.unitil.com/territory. Applications must be received on or before March 14, 2014, and recipients will be notified by April 30, 2014.
Apply, apply, apply!