FAQ | Frequently Asked Questions

Sometimes the path to higher education can be daunting. Go! Beyond High School is here to help. We’ve compiled a list of the most commonly asked questions that we receive regularly through our financial aid nights and cash for college events. These are questions from students and parents that hopefully will be what you’re looking for. If you have a question or concern that is not addressed here, please contact:

Sue Benzinger 707-441-3927
Chérie Zygaczenko 707-445-7007

FAQ Categories

FAFSA/Dream Act Specifics Info for Parents After Filing Cal Grants

 

 

 

FAFSA/Dream Act Specifics

1. Don't I make too much money to apply?

  • Need-based aid vs Merit-based aid
  • Access to institutional scholarships & grants (merit) only possible w/FAFSA application at most schools

2. Why is the deadline so early?

  • March 2nd is PRIORITY deadline for Cal Grants
  • FAFSA for CA connected to that

3. Do I have to apply by March 2nd?

  • No, BUT priority filing allows for maximum amount of aid for student.

4. What if I haven't done my taxes by the March 2nd deadline? Are we supposed to estimate our taxes?

  • You should file early and ESTIMATE what you expect to pay in taxes based on last year's information.

5. How can I know ahead of time what my EFC will be?

  • Every college is required to provide on their website a tool called “Net Price Calculator” that helps you determine your estimated EFC.
  • www.fafsa4caster.gov is a tool that will help you determine your approximate EFC.

6. Can I fill out both the FAFSA and Dream Act applications?

  • No, you can only fill out one or the other, but not both.

7. Who needs a PIN? Does each student in my family need one?

  • Each student and one of the parents needs to request their own PIN number. The parent’s PIN remains the same for all applications submitted.

8. How long does the PIN remain active?

  • The PIN becomes inactive 14-17 months after inactivity. You should use it to file the FAFSA once a year while the student is still in college.

9. Is there money available for middle income families?

  • Yes, new for 2014-15 is the Middle Income Scholarship for families with incomes up to $150,000. Students must attend a UC or CSU and complete a FAFSA or Dream Act application and GPA Verification by March 2nd.
  • No separate application is required.

10. What is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

  • Feature the allows applicants to access their IRS tax information and have it automatically inserted into the FAFSA.
  • Available online beginning February 2nd.

 

 

 

Info for Parents

1. My parents aren’t married but live together. Whose income do we provide for the FAFSA?

  • A new change to the FAFSA this year is the requirement that income and other information of both legal parents (biological or adoptive) in the household must be provided, regardless of marital status or gender.

2. How does DOMA affect FAFSA filing?

  • The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) applies to 2014-15 FAFSA applications, which will include guidance explaining marriage including both legal marriages of same sex or legal marriages of opposite sex persons, in jurisdictions where it is allowed.

 

 

 

After Filing

1. What if my financial situation changes? (i.e., major loss of income, etc.)

  • “Special Circumstances” is something to explore with your financial aid office at the college you plan to attend.

2. What is the EFC?

  • Estimated Family Contribution: the amount of money the government calculates you and your family could reasonably contribute toward the cost of your education for the school year.

3. How are we notified of the next steps?

  • Notification comes within 3-5 days if email is provided; 2-3 weeks if no email is listed.

4. What is SAR (Student Aid Report)?

  • Summary of the information provided on the FAFSA.
  • Must be reviewed for accuracy and corrected, if necessary. Make sure all the information: legal name, date of birth, SSN, etc., is accurate.
  • Can be updated and returned online for fastest processing of the application.
  • Don’t leave spaces blank. Put in a zero if there is nothing to report for that question.

 

 

 

Cal Grants

1. Are Cal Grants only for California schools?

  • Yes, Cal Grants are for use at eligible colleges, universities and career technical schools in California.

2. Is there money available for middle income families?

  • Yes, new for 2014-15 is the Middle Income Scholarship for families with incomes up to $150,000. Students must attend a UC or CSU and complete a FAFSA or Dream Act application and GPA Verification by March 2nd.
  • No separate application is required.