Financial Aid Edition

DCS Counseling Corner

"Oh, this doesn't apply to me..."

WAIT! Before you delete this because you think you don't need to know about financial aid, do yourself a favor and check out these Common Myths about Financial Aid:

  1. "My family makes too much money to qualify for aid"
    There is no income cut-off to qualify for federal student aid, which includes work-study programs and low-interest student loans. You may even qualify for the Middle Class Scholarship. Many merit scholarships also require FAFSA completion.

  2. "I'm going to a community college or trade/vocational program so I don't need to complete the FAFSA"
    There are Cal Grants available to students attending 2-year and vocational/trade programs. To apply for a Cal Grant, you need to submit the FAFSA and a GPA Verification. Guess what? I already submitted your GPA verification for you! So all you need to do is submit the FAFSA and you will automatically be considered for all Cal Grants & the Middle Class Scholarship. Additionally, community colleges and vocational/trade programs may have scholarships and resources available that require the FAFSA.

  3. "I can't do the FAFSA until after my parents do their taxes."
    The FAFSA uses "Prior-Prior Year" taxes, so the taxes filed during your junior year will be what are used for your FAFSA during senior year. In most cases, you can easily transfer your tax information to the FAFSA with a click of a button.

  4. "I don't have to think about this until my senior year"
    You should start thinking about financial aid at least by 11th grade! There are some scholarships available to younger students, and most senior scholarships renew each year with a similar deadline so you can get a head start on those essays and letters of rec while you wait for the application window to reopen.

  5. "There's no rush, I have until March 2nd to do the FAFSA and I still have all these college applications to do first."
    Most financial aid is distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, so you should submit the FAFSA as soon as possible during the application window! You should list every college you are considering on your FAFSA application - they will match your FAFSA to your college application once they receive it.

Still with me? Great! October kicks off Financial Aid season. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) went live on October 1st, so be sure to submit your application as soon as possible! There are lots of support opportunities available across the county, including our Pay Less for College financial aid webinar coming up this Thursday, and the FAFSA workshop held at the San Diego County Office of Education next week. If you want help submitting your applications for the FAFSA, scholarships, or colleges, I am here to walk you through them and/or answer any questions!
Overview of the Financial Aid Process
Big picture
FAFSA Overview

Build Your FAFSA School List

You can list up to 10 colleges on the FAFSA at a time, and you should definitely list at least one of each type of school: 1 community college, 1 UC, 1 CSU, 1 private school, and 1 out-of-state. This will help give you an idea of the aid you may receive from each of those types of schools. Don't forget to actually apply to those schools! If you are applying to more than 10 schools, wait to receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) and then log back into your FAFSA account to "Make FAFSA Corrections." Remove some of the schools listed (they have already received your SAR), and add new schools.
Responsible Borrowing

Financial Aid Webinar TODAY!

Don't forget! Today at 1:00 PM is the Pay Less for College webinar for parents presented by long-time college funding expert, Deborah Fox. This is information all parents need to be armed with so they don't end up overpaying.

The difference between what families pay for any particular college can differ by tens of thousands of dollars just based on their knowledge about how to reduce costs. Deborah will be sharing a lot of strategies for you to consider implementing.

A few examples: Deborah will provide tips for how you can get increase the amount of financial aid you are awarded and how to take advantage of tax credits within the IRS tax code to reduce your costs. She will also share tips for how your child can stand out to colleges by writing his or her essays in a certain way so it can never be compared to another student's essay.

If you haven't yet registered, below is the link to do so.

Reserve your webinar seat at:

Attention Male Students!

Males are legally required to register with Selective Service within 30 days of their 18th birthday.

You can register with Selective Service right on the FAFSA application. If the student is younger, Selective Service will hold the registration until the student is within the 30 day window. You may also register at Late registration is also accepted, be sure to register or you are technically in violation of the law.

*Transgender students must register with selective service if "Male" is listed on the student's birth certificate

This does not mean you are joining the military! It is just for the RARE chance that the government would require a draft, which has not happened since 1973. Registering for Selective Service ensures you stay eligible for jobs, financial aid, job training, driver's licenses, and even citizenship in some cases.

For more information, please visit

Extenuating Circumstances

  • Does the student not have a social security number?
  • Was the student ever a foster youth/ward of the court for any amount of time between the ages of 16-18?
  • Is your current financial situation significantly different than what is reflected on your Prior Prior Year taxes?

If any of the above applies to you, please contact me at for additional resources.

Upcoming FAFSA Workshops

Free & Open to the Public! Students & Parents should attend together and bring IDs, SSNs, 2018 tax return, student's W-2 forms (if any), asset information, and your FSA IDs. Plan to stay for about an hour. More info:

  • Saturday, Oct 19 - 9am -12pm
    -Montgomery HS
    -Mission Hills HS
  • Saturday, Nov 9 - 9am-12pm
    -Morse HS
  • Saturday, Nov 16 - 9am-12pm
    -Chula Vista HS
    -Madison HS
    -Monte Vista HS
  • Monday & Tuesday, Nov 25 & 26, 10am-2pm
    -Lincoln HS
  • Saturday, Dec 7 - 9am-12pm
    -Rancho Buena Vista HS
  • Saturday, Dec 14 - 9am-12pm
    -Mira Mesa HS
    -Hoover HS
  • Saturday, Jan 25 - 9am-12pm
    -Hoover HS
  • Saturday, Feb 1 - 9am-12pm
    -Olympian HS
  • Saturday, Feb 8 - 9am-12pm
    -Castle Park HS

FAFSA Challenge Workshop @ SDCOE

Thursday, October 24th

5:30-8:00 pm

San Diego County Office of Education

6401 Linda Vista Road, San Diego 92111

  • Receive support completing your FAFSA
  • Meet with a Financial Aid Specialist
  • Learn how to pay for college

Be sure to bring your FSA ID, your SSN, and a valid email address


Now what?

Find out more about what happens after the FAFSA is submitted

After the FAFSA: What Happens Next
Didn't get enough aid?

If you’ve received federal, state, and college aid but still find yourself having to fill the gap between what your financial aid covers and what you owe your school, check out these 7 options.

College Fair by Cal SOAP

Wednesday Oct 23

6-8 pm

Scottish Rite Center

1895 Camino Del Rio South, San Diego

Free Workshops on Financial Aid, CSU application, UC Personal Insight Questions, the Promise Scholarship, & more! Dozens of college reps from CA & Out of State Universities!

Other Upcoming Events

  • October 19 - UC Irvine's Fall Preview Day
  • October 23 - Cal SOAP College Fair
  • November 2 - UCSD's Fall Preview Day
  • November 2 - UC Riverside's Fall Preview Day
  • November 30 - UC/CSU Application Deadlines