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May 2016

I Am College Bound Promo of the Month

Encourage your students in grades 9‑12 to participate each month in our I Am College Bound promotion! By just reading a college planning or financial aid article and answering a question about the article correctly, students will be entered to win one of two $25 Amazon gift cards in a random drawing from correct entries.

I Am College Bound's goal is to provide New Hampshire students with the inspiration, information and planning support to pursue higher education goals ‑ share the link with your colleagues and faculty, post on your school counseling website, or use as an activity in your advisories!


#ReachHigher Higher New England

The Reach Higher initiative is First Lady Michelle Obama's effort to inspire every student in America to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school, whether at a professional training program, a community college, or a four‑year college or university.

On August 16th, Reaching Higher In New England: Increasing Post‑secondary Opportunities for All Students, a regional #Reach Higher convening, will be held at Assumption College in Worcester, MA.

During this effort, it is hoped stakeholders from all disciplines ‑ K‑12 school counselors and administration, career/technical education administrators, college access providers, financial aid professionals, state officials, policymakers and others ‑ will collaborate to discuss challenges and opportunities in helping students as they not only access, but persist, in college. There will be the opportunity for participants from New Hampshire to meet as a group to discuss statewide efforts.

There is no cost to attend and registration can be accessed here. Please feel free to share with those who would benefit from attending. For a list of registered attendees (and possible carpooling options), please contact Tori Berube, VP of College Planning & Community Engagement at 603.227.5310.


“Early FAFSA” & “Prior Prior Year” ‑ It's A‑Coming!

Nearly 50 school counselors attended an informational training on Friday, May 6 at the Organizations' campus where financial aid and admissions officers from five of the state's colleges and universities discussed the upcoming changes for FAFSA filing, beginning October 1, 2016. Representatives from financial aid and admissions offices at five of NH's colleges and universities shared their thoughts on how these changes may impact students as they apply to college. The training was videotaped and can be viewed on the NHHEAF YouTube channel here.

As a reminder, in September 2015, President Obama announced two major changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process. First, the President announced a change to the date when students and families can begin to submit a FAFSA. Beginning with the 2017‑2018 financial aid application cycle, the FAFSA will be available on October 1st of the year prior to the upcoming award year. Thus, 2017‑2018 FAFSA filing will begin on October 1, 2016. By having the FAFSA available earlier the financial aid process will generally coincide with the college admissions application and decision cycle, hopefully allowing schools and states to provide financial aid information sooner to students and families.

Second, the President announced a change to which tax year's information will be collected on the FAFSA. Currently, when completing a FAFSA, applicants provide income information from the prior tax year (e.g., 2015 income information for the upcoming 2016‑2017 FAFSA). Beginning with the 2017‑2018, FAFSA income information from one tax year earlier ‑ the so‑called “prior‑prior year” will be collected. This means that the 2017‑2018 FAFSA will collect tax year 2015 income information and not 2016 information. As a result of this change most students will be able to complete their FAFSAs using information from an already completed tax return. This in turn, will provide most of them with the ability to electronically transfer their income tax return information from the IRS into the FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT).

During our May 6th training, an overarching theme from the panelists is by allowing families to apply for financial aid earlier in the admissions process, they will have the opportunity to receive earlier financial aid packages, and therefore may make more informed decisions about which college a student will attend. Panelists in attendance did not foresee their admissions or financial aid deadlines changing during the 2016‑2017 academic year, nor did they see any changes in how they award merit‑ or need‑based aid.

The Center for College Planning will host a Financial Aid Summer Update ‑ perfect as a general refresher or introduction for all school counselors! The training is Thursday, August 18 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. To register, click here.

For students and families, our College Insider, Financial Aid Organizer, and website will be updated to reflect all related changes.


Common Application Updates

More than 800,000 unique applicants have submitted a Common App during the 2015‑2016 application cycles! Common App accounts created in 2015‑2016 will roll over to 2016‑2017! This means that juniors can create their account now ‑ or whenever they are ready ‑ and it will be available for them in 2016‑2017 as seniors. For more information, click here.

The Common App has also recently announced the essay prompts for 2016‑2017 will remain the same as 2015‑2016. To view these prompts, click here. Our free downloadable “Understanding the Common Application” curriculum is a great tool for you to use during advisories or with faculty to help prepare your students for using the Common App!


“I Am College Bound/I Applied” College Application Week

Now in its third year, New Hampshire's “I Am College Bound/I Applied” campaign is designed to help high school seniors navigate the college admissions process and ensure that each student pursues a postsecondary education by inviting them to submit at least one college admission application during a particular school day with the support of their school and local higher education professionals. To date, nearly 800 high school seniors have participated in this program.

In 2016, 23 public high schools will participate in this initiative during the week of November 14. School counselors from elementary, middle and high schools are encouraged to volunteer at one of these events (feel free to bring one of your school's administrators as well!) as we look to expand the program in 2017 to 30 schools. Volunteer registration will be available in early September, but we encourage you to learn about the program here.


Scholarship Corner

Two scholarships from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation (NHCF) are now available! The NHCF is New Hampshire's largest source of scholarship dollars. Applications for the Career Aid for Technical Students ‑ for students enrolling in a two‑year degree program ‑ are due 6/15/16. The Medallion Fund ‑ for students pursuing short‑term vocational or technical studies in fields such as automotive technology, plumbing, heating, construction, advanced manufacturing, computer repair, licensed nursing assistant, etc. ‑ features a rolling deadline.