College Planning Bulletin
A monthly college planning guide for Nebraska high school students
Seniors…Important FAFSA information for you and your parents
The IRS recently took down its Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) due to security concerns. The DRT allows students and parents to transfer income tax information into the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you already filed your 2017-18 FAFSA and used the DRT to input your tax information, this outage should not affect you. If you and your parents have NOT completed your 2017-18 FAFSA, follow these steps:
Complete the FAFSA at fafsa.gov. If you get an error message when you try IRS Data Retrieval (“page not found” or “access denied”), manually input your 2015 tax data.
Request an official tax return transcript of your 2015 income tax data from the IRS. You will need the transcript if the college(s) you list on the FAFSA request verification of your tax data.
Respond to verification requests as soon as possible and send all requested documents to the college. Colleges will not award financial aid until the verification process is complete.
For free help with the FAFSA or verification process, contact EducationQuest to make an appointment. See locations and phone numbers at the bottom of this bulletin. You may also submit questions via Facebook and Twitter. We will quickly respond!
College fairs happening across the state
Talk to representatives from colleges across the state, region, and nation during upcoming college fairs.
Juniors…these events will help you narrow your college choices before taking the ACT this spring and applying for college and financial aid early in the fall.
Seniors…attend if you haven’t made your final college decision. Lincoln Area College Fair – Sunday, March 19, 1-3 p.m., Southeast Community College Grand Island Area College Fair – Sunday, March 26, 1-3 p.m., Pinnacle Bank Expo Center Scottsbluff Area College Fair – Sunday, April 2, 1-3 p.m., Western Nebraska Community College Omaha Area College Fair – Sunday, April 9, 1-3 p.m., University of Nebraska Omaha Sapp Fieldhouse Tri-State Area College Fair (South Sioux City) – Sunday, April 23, 1-3 p.m., Marina Center Before you attend, register for a barcode at NebraskaCollegeFairs.org. Print the barcode (or download it to your smartphone) and take it to the fair so college reps can scan it.
Seniors…It’s decision time!
Here’s how to decide on the college that’s the right fit for you.
Compare your college acceptance letters, financial aid award notifications, and campus visit notes. List the pros and cons of each school using the following criteria:
Location – Is the college too close? If you come home every weekend, you won’t experience true campus life. Is the college too far away? If so, you may not make it home as often as you’d like.
Cost – Can your family afford the school? What can you expect for financial aid beyond your freshman year? Did you receive renewable scholarships? How much in student and parent loans will you need to cover expenses?
Academic program – Does the college offer the program that interests you? What happens if you change majors? Does the college offer other programs that interest you?
Student life – Does the school offer activities you will enjoy? Do you like the living arrangements provided by the school? Will you have an opportunity to work on or near campus?
Make your final decision by May 1 – and then notify the colleges you’re rejecting so they can offer your spot, and any financial aid, to another student.
April “To Do” List
___ Continue applying for scholarships.
___ Make your final college decision.
___ Start purchasing dorm essentials now to avoid sticker shock in August.
___ Start looking for a summer job.
___ Attend a college fair in your area.
___ Schedule campus visits while colleges are still in session.
___ Register by April 7 for the May 6 SAT.
___ Register by May 5 for the June 10 ACT.
___ Start looking for scholarships.
For free help with college planning, contact EducationQuest Foundation:
Omaha Lincoln Kearney Scottsbluff
402-391-4033 402-475-5222 308-234-6310 800-303-3745 ext. 6654
888-357-6300 800-303-3745 800-666-3721
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