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18

Fund Your Future

CSAC.CA.GOV

GET FREE HELP

CALIFORNIA STUDENT OPPORTUNITY

AND ACCESS PROGRAM

Cal-SOAP is a vital component in California’s effort to build

an educated workforce by providing college, career, and

financial aid assistance to traditionally non-college going

students. Cal-SOAP is administered by the California Student

Aid Commission. There are 15 Cal-SOAP offices in California.

Cal-SOAP works with K-12, college, and university partners

to increase the value and reach of other important federal

and state college preparation programs such as

GEAR-UP and TRIO.

CASH FOR COLLEGE PROGRAM

Every January and February, students and parents are

invited to attend FREE Cash for College programs across

California to help fill out the Free Application for Federal

Student Aid (FAFSA), California Dream Act Application

(CADAA) and the Chafee Grant for Foster Youth Application.

Cash for College workshops offer help in other languages.

For dates, locations and a list of what to bring, go to

www.cash4college.org or

visit the California Mobile Gallery

at

www.mobilegallery.ca.gov .

FINANCIAL AID BASICS

Financial aid is available to manage the cost of

attending college or training after high school.

Think of it this way: First, take the cost to attend, then

subtract the free money – grants and scholarships–and that

will give you the “Net Cost” to attend college.

Then, look for options to pay the net cost. Look for grant

and scholarship money first- that money doesn’t need to be

repaid. If needed, consider loans; however, loans must be

repaid with interest.

COST FOR FIRST YEAR OF COLLEGE

MINUS GRANTS & SCHOLARSHIPS

EQUALS NET COST

Options to pay net costs:

• Work-study

• Federal student loans

• Other options:

• Family contributions

• Payment plan offered by college

• Parent PLUS loan

• Military or other service benefits

• Private education loans

Complete the FAFSA or CADAA to apply for aid for the

school year. (For schools with year-round admissions and

rolling starts, contact the financial aid office to find out which

FAFSA to submit.)

Schedule an hour; the FAFSA should take less than an hour

if you have your completed “FAFSA on the Web” Worksheet

in front of you.

Read all the instructions, work through each step and

review your answers carefully. Careless errors can delay

processing, which could mean missed deadlines and dollars.

For the FAFSA, be sure your name matches your name as it

appears on your Social Security card. Using a nickname will

delay processing. If you’ve changed your name, update your

records with the Social Security Administration at

www.ssa.gov . (A

lso notify Social Security if you’ve become a

U.S. citizen.)

Don’t mail or date your paper FAFSA before October 1. It will

be returned to you unprocessed and you’ll need to submit it

again. Photocopies or faxes of the FAFSA are not accepted.

Don’t send any tax forms, letters of explanation, or other

materials with your FAFSA – they’ll be shredded. If you or

your family have unusual circumstances you feel should be

considered, complete the FAFSA as best you can.

Then contact the financial aid office of each college

you’re considering.

If you provide an email address, you’ll get an

instant confirmation that your FAFSA was received.

Save the confirmation.

If you don’t already have a FSA ID the FSA ID process consists

of three main steps:

1. Enter your log-in information.

• Provide your email address, a unique username, and

password, and verify that you are at least 13 years old.

2. Enter your personal information.

• Provide your Social Security number, name, and

date of birth.

• Include your mailing address, email address, telephone

number, and language preference.

• For security purposes, provide answers to five

challenge questions.

3. Submit your FSA ID information.

• Agree to the terms and conditions.

• Verify your email address. (This is optional, but helpful.

By verifying your email address, you can use your email

address as your username when logging into certain ED

websites. This verification also allows you to retrieve your

username or reset your password without answering

challenge questions.)

Don’t have a computer?

Look into using one at your school or library. You can

save your FAFSA for up to 45 days at a time, so you don’t

have to complete it in one sitting, but be sure you submit

your application by the March 2nd deadline. If you’d like

additional colleges to receive your FAFSA information, go

to

www.fafsa.gov (o

r call 1-800-433-3243). If you have to

delete a college before adding a new one, be sure the first

college has already received your information.