YOU CAN NOW APPLY FOR FAFSA BEGINNING
OCTOBER 1, 2020
Below are some commonly asked questions and answers about Financial Aid, Cal Grants, and the CSS Profile
I’m not sure if I can afford to pay for college. How can I find out how much financial aid I’ll receive? A. Last year, the federal government mandated that each college put a “Net Price Calculator” on their websites so families will get a general idea of what their financial aid packet will look like if they attend the school. To access the Net Price Calculators at the college you’re interested in, go to www.NetPriceCalculator.com
Q: What do I need to do to get financial aid?
A: The US Department of Education has updated the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) on the Web. Website for the 2019-2020 school year at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The FAFSA is the application for federal and state student financial aid. FAFSA applications for the 2019-2020 year will be accepted starting October 1st. However, you should be able to complete the information once you’ve created an account.
California’s Cal Grant program requires the FAFSA to be filed by March 2, 2020. In addition, to receive Cal Grant award consideration, a student must have a school certified Grade Point Average (GPA) submitted by March 2, 2020 (Bishop Montgomery submits this for you, so you do NOT have to do anything for the GPA verification). Colleges will have their own scholarship and financial aid filing deadlines, sometimes earlier than March 2. Students should check on-line with every college under consideration for the school’s scholarship and financial aid deadline. To see the income guidelines for Cal Grants, click here.
Although a student’s final financial aid eligibility will be based on final 2019 year tax figures, students are encouraged to file their FAFSA as early as possible after October 1st. Students and parents should complete the FAFSA by the earliest school deadline using estimates of their 2018 federal taxes. Then, when the final tax figures are available, they must file a correction at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Not having final tax figures is not an accepted reason for missing a school or state filing deadline. If you want to see ahead of time what may be required of you, fill out the FAFSA on the Web Worksheet.
Questions on completing the FAFSA can be made to the Federal Student Aid Information Center at (800) 433-3243.
Students with Cal Grant questions can call (888) 224-7268.
The California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) came out with a great financial aid checklist chart for Juniors and Seniors. To access it, http://www.csac.ca.gov/
Q: I filled out the FAFSA. Now what?
A: Verify that all the data on the SAR (Student Aid Report) is accurate. Submit updates at www.fafsa.gov. Revise student and parent SAR data with final 1040 tax numbers, if necessary. After you've verified your SAR, check with the campus financial aid office to make sure that all relevant application paperwork is complete. Students may be requested to submit tax forms for verification purposes.
After filing the FAFSA, students should establish a WebGrants for Students (WGS) account. Using WGS, students can see their Cal Grant application status, confirm and update their postal and e-mail addresses, provide the required high school graduation confirmation once they graduate and change their college of attendance.
WGS can be accessed 24/7 and is an easy and efficient way for students to stay on top of their application and, if awarded, their Cal Grant award. To establish a WGS account, students should go to www.webgrants4students.org and follow the instructions!
Q: How can I get help filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)?
A: Each year we have a financial aid officer from one of the local colleges come do a presentation on how to fill out the FAFSA form which will take place in October 2019. The presenter will go through the FAFSA line-by-line and will answer any questions you may have. You can also get more information from the Federal Student Aid website.
The California Student Aid Commission also holds "Cash for College" workshops. To find out more information and to get dates they are available, click here.
Q: I got my financial aid award letter from the college I got accepted to, but I don't know how to read it. What does it all mean?
A: FastWeb puts out a very helpful newsletter that explains both financial aid terms and how to read your financial aid award letters. You can access it here. Also, finaid.org has plenty of information on how to pay for college.
Q: How do you apply for the Cal Grant?
A: Your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) application is also the application for Cal Grants. Bishop Montgomery sends all seniors' grades electronically so you don't have to do that.
Q: What is the "Academic Competitiveness Grant" and how do I qualify?
A: For more information on this grant, go to
Students must qualify for the Federal Pell Grant, meaning their "Expected Family Contribution" or EFC must be below $3,850. For most of our students, they can mark "Meets the California A-G requirements" for the "Recognized Rigorous Secondary School Programs of Study". If you don't meet the A-G requirements (which are the same ones needed to qualify for Cal States or UCs), check the website for other ways to qualify.
Q: What is the “CSS Profile”?
A: The CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE or CSS PROFILE (the College Scholarship Service Profile), is an application which allows college students to apply for financial aid. It is primarily designed to give private member institutions of the College Board a closer look into the finances of a student and family, making it much more detailed than the FAFSA.
Along with the FAFSA, the CSS Profile is the most common financial aid application that students in the United States fill out. Each CSS Profile costs a fee, varying from year to year.
Generally, colleges with early acceptance programs use the CSS PROFILE to make preliminary financial aid decisions because the FAFSA is now available until after October 1st. Then after student completes the FAFSA (the official financial aid application) colleges may then make adjustments to their financial aid awards if necessary.
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Thank you to Ms. Debra Brooks for her expertise in all things Financial Aid...here are a few suggested videos to watch for additional help while filling out the FAFSA and what to do after it! As well as the PowerPoint Presentation that she went over. There are few packets left in the Guidance Office. Please have your child stop by and pick one up from any of the counselors. Thanks!