Financial Aid Basics for Counselors: What You Need to Know about the FAFSA, TASFA, and More

Posted by Thema Reed, Texas OnCourse on Oct 20, 2020 11:42:31 AM

Thinking about paying for college can seem like a big task for high school students and their families. After all, the average college cost has increased more than 25% in the last 10 years. Luckily, students have more financial aid opportunities now than ever before.

It’s important for high school counselors to understand the impacts of rising student debt. They should also note the different avenues that students have to pay for college to reduce student loans. Applications like the FAFSA, TASFA, and CSS Profile can seem overwhelming, but the benefit for eligible students can be huge.

In this guide, we'll include links to additional articles, webinars, videos, and other resources. And don’t forget to refer to the ultimate source for all postsecondary planning information for professionals: the Texas OnCourse Academy.

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Topics: Finances, Educators, High School, Financial Aid

How to Adjust Your FAFSA Strategy due to COVID-19

Posted by Leader Fellow Alum Holly Moore on Oct 13, 2020 4:06:47 PM

When we heard that Texas OnCourse leader fellow alum Holly Moore increased her campus’ FAFSA completion by a whopping 21% in 2017–2018, we had to learn more! We interviewed her about her process and what she did differently than the year before. Holly is now a college counselor at Uplift Grand Preparatory but made this incredible progress while she was at Grand Prairie ISD in 2017. There were approximately 2,400 students at her school, and she worked with approximately 720 seniors each year.

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Topics: Finances, Educators, Coronavirus, Financial Aid

COVID-19 Update: Financial Aid Tips during COVID-19

Posted by Rose Frezza, Texas OnCourse on Sep 14, 2020 11:02:34 PM

Financial aid season is quickly approaching. We want to make sure you’re teed up to help your students afford college. This week, we’ll walk you through some new and existing information and resources and review trusted financial aid tips during COVID-19.

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Topics: Finances, Educators, Coronavirus, Distance Counseling

Financial Aid during COVID-19

Posted by Rose Frezza, Texas OnCourse on May 19, 2020 3:39:03 PM

Many of your students have likely experienced changes to their personal and family income. These changes can affect expected family contribution, so your students may need to update a financial aid application. 

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Topics: Applying to College, Finances, Coronavirus, Distance Counseling

Micro Scholarships: The Hidden Scholarships for High School Students

Posted by Rose Frezza, Texas OnCourse on Mar 12, 2020 5:23:19 PM

Too often, we view scholarships as something that students start thinking about in the later years of high school – when college applications are imminent. But here are ways to begin earning scholarships for college as early as ninth grade. Through micro-scholarships!

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Topics: Finances, College Planning, Educators

In Which Order Should Students Accept Financial Aid?

Posted by Communications Coordinator Rose Frezza on Jan 7, 2020 1:36:06 PM

Scholarships and grants, federal student loans, state and college loans, private loans, work-study – these are the many ways your students can receive assistance in paying for college. Researching and pursuing these opportunities can be complicated, but there’s more to do once applications are in! Students need to learn that borrowing only what they need is crucial to minimizing debt, and that certain forms of financial aid will need to be re-paid or traded for time.

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Topics: Finances, Educators

How to Interpret the FAFSA Student Aid Report

Posted by Leader Fellow Will Collins on Nov 12, 2019 11:22:56 AM

After counseling sessions, financial aid nights, mountains of paperwork, and countless follow-ups, your students have *successfully* filed their FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Way to go, counselor! What now?

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Topics: Applying to College, Finances, Educators

How to Secure Financial Aid for Undocumented Students

Posted by Leader Fellow Crystal Castañeda on Oct 29, 2019 3:22:51 PM

I have worked with many undocumented students over the years. It’s heartbreaking to see how defeated, unsure, and scared they can be about their path to college readiness. It is our job to educate and uplift all students – and let them know that college is an option. 

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Topics: Applying to College, Finances, Educators

Why Every College-Bound Student Should Stop, Drop, and FAFSA

Posted by Leader Fellow Patti Morton Gibbs on Oct 10, 2019 2:13:06 PM

“Why should my child or my family apply for FAFSA if we are not low income?” As a parent and educator, I am asked this question often. My response comes from personal experience working with college-bound students and their families for the past 25 years.

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Topics: Applying to College, Finances, College Planning, Parents

Is the TASFA Right for Your Students?

Posted by Communications Coordinator Rose Frezza on Oct 8, 2019 2:59:51 PM

It’s financial aid season, which means that students, parents, and educators around the country have “paying for college” on their minds. FAFSA is a definite buzzword, but what about those students who aren’t eligible for federal financial aid?

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Topics: Finances, College Planning