6. College Affordability Planning
Provide students and families with comprehensive information about college costs, options for paying for college, and the financial aid and scholarship processes and eligibility requirements, so they are able to plan for and afford a college education.
- Ensure students understand financial aid application processes,
including application completion and submission procedures, educational debt, adhering to deadlines, understanding Student Aid Reports (SARs) and financial aid award letters, federal borrowing and repayment options tailored for diverse student groups, application signatures, and communicating with financial aid offices.
- Familiarize students with financial aid publications and applications,
including the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), state agency applications, scholarship and grant applications, and financial literacy glossaries.
- Ensure that students with special and unusual circumstances (e.g., independent students, students with incarcerated or missing parents, foster care students, and wards of the court) have information
about federal, state and institutional financial aid guidelines for application and submission, including supporting documentation and verification information.
- Collaborate with teachers schoolwide
to include financial literacy and financial aid awareness into lessons about basic finance, wealth, money management, and the financial aid application and submission process.
- Use student FAFSA data to create structures
to monitor application completion, make application updates and corrections, and ensure students receive and review aid reports.
- Disseminate free financial literacy and financial aid information,
resources and tools in multiple languages from federal and state entities such as the U.S. Department of Education, the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Financial Literacy and Education Commission, and the State Higher Education Commission.
- Collaborate with other high school counselors
to develop and implement districtwide financial aid events at which students can complete FAFSA and other critical forms. Hold districtwide competitions for FAFSA completion to encourage higher college and career and technical school enrollment rates.
- Collaborate with middle school counselors
to align financial literacy efforts in middle and high school so students’ planning is coherent and continuous. Identify families who are new to the district and who may not have had this planning in middle school.
- Create outreach efforts to ensure that parents and families are aware
of their role in assisting their children in the college affordability process (see student interventions).
- Ensure that parents and families engage in the financial aid application process
knowing that family financial circumstances may not prevent their students from applying for and receiving most financial aid.
- Disseminate free federal and state financial literacy and financial aid publications,
brochures and website information that can help parents submit supporting financial aid documentation to colleges, universities, and career and technical schools.
- Partner with community businesses and financial institutions
to develop and provide scholarship and stipend opportunities for students and support financial literacy initiatives.
- Encourage community leaders to help spread the word about financial literacy initiatives
by serving as speakers and mentors and assisting students with documentation retrieval and translation, application review and submission.
- Use federal and state outreach personnel and toolkits
from federal financial literacy and financial aid agencies to enhance school- and community-based initiatives.
- Participation in early awareness financial literacy and financial aid initiatives
- Participation in financial aid planning processes
- Scholarship application completion
- Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion