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Western Undergradulate Exchange: tuition reciprocity agreement among 16 member states: pay that state's in-state tuition rate, even if you live in California!





Financial Aid

***It is strongly recommended that all TL families complete the FAFSA or California Dream Act, as well as the CSS Profile if applying for private and/or out-of-state public colleges!  Both of them opened on October 1, AND ARE DUE MARCH 2, 2021!

Materials required:

* parents' federal tax returns for the 2019 tax year

* parents' W-2 forms

* untaxed income, such as welfare benefits, social security benefits, or child support payments

* parents' Social Security Numbers, if available

* parents' dates of birth

* parents' marital status and date of marriage or date of divorce, separation, or widowing (month/year)

* it is helpful if both parent and student work on it together 

Free financial aid seminars by CSAC/California Student Aid Commission!

     * Tuesday, Jan. 12, 8:30-11:30am, register here!

     * Thursday, Jan. 14, 5:30pm-8pm, register here!

     * Tuesday, Jan. 26, 8:30-11:30am, register here!

     * Saturday, Jan. 30, 10am-12:30pm, register here!

     * Wednesday, Feb. 10, 8:30-11:30am, register here!

     * Thursday, Feb. 11, 5:30pm-8pm, register here!

     * Wednesday, Feb. 17, 8:30-11:30am, register here!

     * Wednesday, Feb. 24, 8:30-11:30am, register here!

     * Thursday, Feb. 25, 5:30pm-8pm, register here! is a good financial aid overview

Some financial aid basics: 

4 types of aid: 

1) Scholarships: money provided by colleges or businesses, that does not need to be repaid.  Scholarships can be based on academic, arts, athletic, leadership, race, sex, nationality, LGBTQIA+, religion, what you plan to study in college, or other considerations.  Note: never pay money to fill out a scholarship application!  

Middle Class Scholarship: provides students with family incomes and assets up to $184,000 a scholarship to attend a UC or CSU. 

See link at upper left for South City's detailed scholarship page!

2) Grants: money provided by colleges, businesses, or individuals, that does not need to be repaid

Cal Grant  Free money that does not have to be repaid.  Cal Grant "A" is available for students who have at least a 3.0 GPA, and covers tuition and fees for up to 4 years at eligible California colleges; up to $12,570 at UC's, $5,742 at CSU's, and $9,084 at private colleges.  Cal Grant "B" is available for students who have at least a 2.0 GPA, and covers tuition and fees for years 2-4 at eligible California colleges; up to $9,084 at private colleges, and $5,742 at CSU's.  Family income ceilings apply.  GPA Verification Form will be uploaded by SSFHS.  You must fill out a FAFSA or CADAA to be eligible for a CalGrant!

Pell Grantfederal government aid that is based upon family income, up to a maximum of $6,195 per year; most Pell Grant funding goes to families with total annual income under $20,000, though some families making up to about $50,000 may qualify for some Pell assistance.  

FSEOG (Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant): college aid, up to $4,000 depending on a        student's need.  Applying early increases your chances of receiving aid!

Chafee Grant for foster youth: If you are or were in foster care for at least one day, between the ages of 16 and 18 as a dependent or ward of the court and have financial need, you may qualify for up to $5,000 a year for career and technical training or college.  You don’t have to pay this money back.  You may also be able to use your grant to help pay for child care, transportation and rent while you’re in school.  You can use your Chafee Grant at any eligible California college or university or career or technical school, as well as schools in other states.

Promise Grant: the California Promise Grant waives tuition at any community college in California.  Fill out a FAFSA, or apply here.  There is no deadline, and there is no limit to the number of college credits it applies for.  

3) Loans: money provided by colleges, businesses, banks, or individuals, that must be repaid, including interest.

Subsidized versus unsubsidized loans: Subsidized loans are based on financial need (the amount of the loan cannot exceed your financial need), and there is no interest charged until after you graduate from college.  Unsubsidized loans are not based on financial need, and charge you interest from the moment you take them on.

4) Work-study: a job provided to you by your college - such as in Admissions, the bookstore, the cafeteria/dining services, or the library - where the money you earn goes towards your tuition: generally 10-15 hours per week.

Need-based aid, versus merit-based aid: need-based aid is dependent on the family's financial circumstances.  Merit-based aid can be awarded based on talent in academics, the arts, athletics, and so forth, regardless of the family's financial need.  

Net price: the net price of a college is what the family will pay, after subtracting grants and scholarships.

Net Price Calculator: colleges offer their own calculators so that families can estimate about how much that college might cost them to attend.  This link allows you to access them from one website!

EFC/Expected Family Contribution: the amount the family will be expected to pay from parent income & assets; and student income & savings.  Also influenced by family size; age of oldest parent; number of children currently attending college.  Other considerations include health-related expense; loss of property; or death in family.

Some costs during your college years include:

* tuition per course

* room/housing

* "board" (food)

* books

* electronics: laptop, phone, phone/internet bill

* supplies: paper, pens & pencils; room decor, if living in dorms, residence halls, or off-campus apartments etc

* personal expenses (clothes, concerts, museums, or other arts/athletic performances, membership fees for college clubs)

* parking lots/garages/meters, gas for car, possible tolls

* travel costs: plane/bus/train/car: arrival in August/September; holiday/December break; winter/February break; spring/March/April break; departure in May/June

* healthcare (health, dental, vision insurance)

Also, be sure to check the college's 4-year and 6-year graduation rates, to help you plan.  For example,

        * a less-expensive college that takes you 6 years to graduate, versus... 

        * ...a more expensive college that takes you 4 years to graduate

The big three financial aid forms (though you will only do 2, or maybe even just 1)

FAFSA (Free Application For Federal Student Aid)  Qualifies students who are US citizens for aid from the federal government.  Seniors can start filling out the FAFSA in October: opens October 1, due March 2nd (but do it as early as possible!). Only fill out the FAFSA or Dream Act: not both!  

California Dream Act (CADAA)  Permits undocumented/Dreamer/AB540 students to receive financial assistance for college!  Seniors can start filling out the Dream Act in October: opens October 1, due March 2nd (but do it as early as possible!).  Only fill out the FAFSA or Dream Act, not both!

CSS Profile  The College Board's financial aid form to fill out for aid from over 400 private & out-of-state schools, and some scholarships.  Available October 1.  Fill out in addition to FAFSA.  

NACAC application fee waiver for many private/out-of-state schools 

California Student Aid Commission  general California student aid information

Note: to graduate on time - within 4 years - take at least 15 credits per semester!  Your financial aid might not be valid for more than 4 years.  

WUE/Western Undergraduate Exchange

About 160 colleges in 17 Western states/territories will charge you no more than 150% of their in-state tuition, instead of out-of-state!  (for example, if their tuition for in-state residents is $10,000, you pay no more than $15,000). 

WUE colleges include:
* Southern Oregon, Western Oregon, Portland State

* Washington State (main), Western Washington, Evergreen State, Central Washington, Eastern Washington, Washington State (Vancouver, WA)

* UNLV and UN-Reno

* Colorado State, Colorado Mesa, Fort Lewis, Northern Colorado, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs

* University of Arizona, Northern Arizona

* Hawai'i-Hilo and Hawai'i-Manoa

* Boise State, Idaho State, and University of Idaho

* Montana State and University of Montana

* Southern Utah, University of Utah, and Utah State

* University of Wyoming. 

Note that you must apply for WUE status with your college, as it is not automatically granted by all colleges.

Money magazine's best-value colleges

The College Solution: excellent advice about paying for college!

Scholarship information (also, see separate Scholarship link, at top left)

Cappex  scholarship search

College Board  scholarship search

College Treasure  merit-based scholarships

FastWeb  scholarship search

Finaid  scholarship search

Merit Aid merit-based scholarships

Resources for First-Generation-to-College Students and Families

California Dream Act  (AB 130) allows students who meet AB 540 criteria to apply for and receive non-state funded scholarships for public colleges and universities. 

MALDEF  information about scholarships and immigration for Latinx students

AB 540  provision for immigrants to access in-state tuition at California colleges

Immigrants Rising  San Francisco-based organization supporting undocumented students pursuing college & career

Great article about loan practices to beware of: 

Shady College Loan Practices Every Student Should Watch Out For (Dec. 11, 2019, Cosmopolitan)