Finding Federal Grants

Your most valuable resource for financial aid information is your HIFE CPP Coach.  Our HIFE CPP Coach can direct you to the proper database to find the financial aid you need for a specific college or university based on your choice of degree.

You must first complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is a standardized application that helps determine your need for financial assistance.  Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is calculated based on the information you provide for your income, parent’s income and assets as well as the size of your family.  The EFC provides the amount you and your family can afford to pay  for college each year.  Your EFC is used to generate the individual Student Aid Report (SAR) for the financial aid needs for the college you have selected.

You may file as a “dependent student” which will require for you to include your parent’s financial profile on the FAFSA form.  But if you file as an “independent student,” your parent’s financial information will not be factored in the application process.  As an independent student, you will have a greater chance to show your need for financial assistance.  However, this is all contingent on whether your parents claim you as a dependent on their income tax return.

Your Student Aid Report is sent directly to your selected colleges which in turn will assist the financial aid officer in determining whether you qualify for any scholarships, grants and student loans.

By completing your FAFSA, you will be considered for the Pell Grant & Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG).  Pell Grants are designed for need-based undergraduates.

Message From The Dean – Bob Fulcomer

This is a critical time for parents of high school seniors. With the holidays fast approaching, many parents fail to realize they will need to file their FAFSA forms as soon after Jan 1, 2015 as possible.

It’s not the filing of the FAFSA that is the most important to do now, but the allocation of funds and making sure you have done everything possible to lower your EFC (expected family contribution) is very critical.  If there are any includable assets that can be realigned to have them not be included when filing the FAFSA, it has to be done before the end of the year.

Although it doesn’t affect everyone, for many parents, it can mean the difference between receiving “needs based” money or not receiving their fair share.  Many parents assume that having funds in their children’s name will help, which is the opposite of what it really does.  Students assets are weighed much heavier than the assets of their parents.

Now is the time to do an analysis of income and assets and seek the advice of a professional that understands what includable assets are and how to be positioned best to receive the most financial aid possible.

What Is Early Decision?

Students who are accepted into college early have the advantage of peace of mind during their senior year of high school. Applying early decision is a smart move for the confident applicant to stand out from the pack. But applying early is not for the faint of heart—those applicants who are accepted enter into a binding agreement to attend that college.

Applying Early Decision

It is critical for a student to be absolutely certain in the choice of early-decision college before applying. Prospective students can apply for regular admission to other schools, but cannot apply to any other college by early decision. If the student is accepted, any other applications must be withdrawn.

A common misconception lies in the “binding” agreement of early decision. Applicants accepted under this program have agreed to attend only that college in the fall. It does not mean legal action can be taken against a student if he or she decides not to attend. However, since the applicant is bound under the terms of early decision to attend that college, she still cannot attend another school in the same academic year she was accepted for. If there is a change of heart, applicants may want to consider taking a gap year and reapplying to other colleges for the subsequent academic year.

Other schools will not allow a student to attend if he or she has rejected an early decision acceptance at another college.

Students typically apply for early decision without knowing what kind of financial aid they will be awarded. Some schools may consider financial aid a valid reason to break the binding attendance agreement. If a financial aid award may sway a student’s decision to attend a particular school, it’s best to find out if that college will break the agreement for this reason before applying early  decision.

Applying  Early Action

The biggest difference between early decision and early action programs is the attendance agreement. Students who are accepted through early action programs can reject the offer and attend a different school without repercussions

The nonbinding nature of the program also allows students to apply to several schools through early action. This is helpful for students in need of financial aid who can compare award offers from several schools. However, some schools, such as Harvard, Princeton and Yale, only offer single-choice early action programs, in which students can commit to just one early action college.

Application Deadlines

Early decision and early action applications are typically due by Nov. 1, but this deadline might be earlier or later depending on the college. Students will typically hear back by mid-December, prior to most colleges’ regular admission deadlines in January. If a student is deferred, he or she will enter the pool for regular admission and will likely not hear back until mid-March or mid-April.

Why Apply Early?

Applying early can be beneficial to both students and colleges, says Chris Hooker-Haring, dean of admission and financial aid at Pennsylvania’s Muhlenberg College. Schools with early decision programs tend to have higher acceptance rates for those applicants than for the overall applicant pool.

Nothing else in the application process allows a student to express such clear first-choice interest in a particular college,” says Hooker-Haring. “Colleges value the enthusiasm and commitment that early decision students bring with them to campus, so an early decision applicant may get an extra look in the admissions process.”

Early decision is more valuable to colleges than early action because it helps them determine their yield of accepted applicants who actually enroll in college. Yield is important to schools because it influences rankings and desirability among prospective students.

Stephanie Klein Wassink, founder of and a former member of the admissions committee at Northwestern University, offers another argument for applying early. She suggests standing in the admissions officer’s shoes: “When do you think it is easier to impress a college admissions officer— when you are application 31 or application 1,031?” she says.

What to consider

Students with strong junior- year grades and standardized test scores are better candidates for early applications. Those with applications that could benefit from boosted fall semester grades or who are taking fall ACT or SAT tests may want to wait for regular admission before applying.

Above all, if a student chooses early decision, he or she needs to be sure of the decision before applying. For those ready to apply, but unsure of their choices, early action allows for more flexibility. Ultimately, receiving early admission could mean a less stressful senior year for savvy applicants.

Source:  Anna Helhoski,

Consultant Statement Jimmy Carter Office Atlanta

I love the program and have a passion for doing CPP. CPP is a great program that is not only a big help for the students and parents but also a valuable tool for us to help more and more families.

Education is a key for success in America, but the education system nowadays is very complicated, confusing and expensive. How to find the right college, right major or right career path to have a successful future is always a major challenge for not only students but also their parents. CPP is a solution to this challenge. CPP assesses the student’s interests, helps them understand their career choices, education background, helps them understand the costs and funding options in building a budget, and how to save for their children’s education fund.

Last but not least, CPP is a program where students can learn how to build and work along with a plan to achieve their goals, which can help students establish a winning attitude and build the confidence at a young age to become a successful person in the future.

Coachs Corner

Question:  How many colleges should I apply to?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question.  It all depends on the degree you are pursuing, the region where you want to attend, the cost of attendance, your grades, demographics, acceptance rate, etc.

I would recommend starting with 15-20 to select from then narrowing down to 6 to 8. Just remember that the college you apply to is one possible school that you would be happy to attend.

Make sure you ask your HIFE Coach for guidance in helping you select the right fit college for you.

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