Want Money for College?


FAFSA homepage

Ryoko Mukai, Staff Reporter

College can be such an exciting transition, but it becomes more difficult when it comes down to paying for these institutions. Now is the time of year for seniors to complete their FAFSA. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid; every senior has a free application and should take advantage of it! This application will  determine how much financial aid students are eligible for. Financial aid comes in  different forms, such as grants, scholarships, or loans. 


Ms. Brigitte Hughes, one of the school guidance counselors, wants students to keep in mind that, “Some students do not qualify for federal grants right off the bat, but many students will qualify for different types of scholarships and institutional aid. A student would not know until that FAFSA is submitted.” 


It is an important application for students to fill out, even if they have low expectations of what they may receive. Students can complete their application on a phone or computer. There is an official app called myStudentAid available for iPhone and Android users. 


The application process can be made easy for students by using the official federal student aid website’s resources. There, students can view a list of the information they will need to complete the application. Students can revisit their application, but if they would like to complete it in one sitting, they should set aside 1-2 hours, and for extra help, have a guardian who may understand the form better available. 


Students should turn in their application as early as they can complete it. The official deadline is March 2, 2021. 


Students are welcome to email questions to their counselors, and another great resource is Ranchos Career Center. Ms. Debora Souza is available to discuss Career Pathway courses (ROP) and offers Career Assessments (Career Cruising). When summarizing her role she said she, “Set up virtual meetings for students to attend informative information from college representatives. When things go back to normal these meetings are set up inside the career center along with the sign-ups. This applies to meetings with all military branches as well. During normal times I conduct classroom orientations for teachers.” She also keeps the webpage updated with lots of information and advertisements for colleges. 

For  senior students who may feel hesitant or are putting off completing the FAFSA, Ms. Souza said, “Why would you pass up on finding out if you qualify for free grant money and/or low student loan rates?”

As for the benefits of FAFSA, Ms. Souza says, “A student may qualify for a Pell Grant and/or a Cal Grant (free money). The only way to know if a student qualifies is by applying for FAFSA.” 

With the application deadline getting closer, students need to complete their FAFSA and have it turned in before the deadline of March 2nd, 2021. Students should also note that they will need to fill out a new FAFSA form every year they attend a college or university. 

You’ve got this, Rancho!