facebook_3 twitter_final2 youtube_final2
Fall 2018

FAFSA Has a New Look AND a New App!

The 2019‑2020 FAFSA opened on October 1st with a brand new look. Although no questions have changed, the platform looks different to those who know the form well. According to FAFSA, the new look allows for the FAFSA to look the same on different devices and offers the following:

  • The page design of fafsa.gov now has a more modern and user‑friendly look and feel to improve the overall experience.
  • The “Help and Hints” display boxes have been replaced by new “tool tips.” Tool tips will provide easy‑to‑use contextual information as students and parents go through each FAFSA question.
  • To ease the students' and parents' navigation through the site, some questions on fafsa.gov are now grouped in a different order. The questions are now displayed in a more user-friendly way, which may require fewer page views for students and parents.

To get a glimpse of the new look, click here.

The 2019‑2020 FAFSA applicants also have an option to use the new FAFSA App and Mobile‑Responsive Website. For more information on the new app click, here.

And of course, the Center for College Planning (CCP) is here to help your students and families file the 2019‑2020 FAFSA for free here at our Concord campus. Click here to get a pdf. of our 2019‑2020 FAFSA Appointment flyer to send to your seniors and their families.

Also, be on the lookout for copies of our new FAFSA poster to hang throughout your school. These were mailed to your school counseling office at the beginning of October to encourage your students and parents to file the FAFSA and take advantage of all possible financial aid programs.


A New School Counselor Quarterly Feature

As you may know, our four full-time and two‑part time College Counselors travel throughout the state of New Hampshire providing over 250 presentations in high schools each year. We love when families ask us questions about the financial aid process, and we thought we would share some of these questions with you in our new “Questions from the Road” article in case you are asked the same questions! We hope you find this feature helpful and if you would like further clarification, please call us at 888.747.2382, ext. 119.

Question ‑ When filing the FAFSA, parents are given the choice to either use the IRS’ Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) or to input the information on their own. What is the benefit of using one method over the other?

Answer ‑ When the IRS' DRT is used, the colleges see financial data provided as “verified” by the IRS, and therefore may save families a number of steps in the financial aid process. If a family inputs tax data on their own, electing not to use the IRS' DRT, the college will need to verify the amounts entered for the financial aid offices listed on the FAFSA. To complete this verification, the family will either have to log back into FAFSA, and connect to the IRS' DRT or they will have to request an IRS Tax Transcript which can be sent via e‑mail or via the US Postal Service. The process of requesting an IRS Tax Transcript can be cumbersome and the actual transcript may take weeks to arrive if being sent by mail.


On‑Campus Living: Not Just for Four‑Year Schools These Days

More and more high school seniors are looking for opportunities to save money while pursuing their college degree. This desire to save money has prompted students to seriously explore community college as an option. However, these students may not want to sacrifice one of the quintessential “experiential” parts of college ‑ the residence hall experience. They understand that by having this on‑campus housing experience they can move away from home, become more independent and learn to navigate a new diverse community on a daily basis. So as counselors, how can we best offer students both options?

Here in New Hampshire and in many of our surrounding New England states, community colleges have begun to offer their students a variety of on‑campus housing options. At NHTI, Concord's Community College, students can choose to live in a traditional residence hall. At Lakes Region Community College students can stay in furnished two and three bedroom apartments.

If a student is looking for an academic program that is not offered at one of our New Hampshire community colleges, they may need a campus with housing options in order to be able to attend that community college in another state. Locally, four community colleges in Maine and one in Vermont also offer housing options. Nationally, over 40 states have taken the steps to allow community colleges to repurpose buildings for on‑campus housing. Click here for a list of community colleges across the country now offering on-campus housing options.


And we are pleased to present another new feature in the School Counselor Quarterly! In "Questions That Make You Go “Hmmm…”, we'll take a look at a complex college admissions or financial aid question or situation that we've recently encountered that causes us to take a moment and think about the correct response. We hope you find this segment helpful and if you would like further clarification, we encourage you to please call us at 888.747.2382, ext. 119.

Situation: You are working with one of your high school seniors who currently lives with an aunt who resides in‑district. The aunt is the legal guardian (per probate court paperwork). But the student also spends time with mom (and she comes to school events). Mom currently lives in Maine. Whose information is required when completing the FAFSA?

What is the correct response in this situation?

A: Student and Aunt ‑ As the aunt is the legal guardian (per the court paperwork), she will complete the FAFSA with the student.

B: Student and Mom ‑ Even though the student currently lives with her aunt, she is still in contact with mom. Therefore, the student and mom will complete the FAFSA.

C: Just the Student ‑ Since the student is in a legal guardianship (per court paperwork), the student qualifies as an “independent student” and does not need either her aunt's or her mother's financial information to complete the FAFSA.

The Correct Response: “C”. As long as the student can provide documentation of her legal guardian status, she will file the FAFSA as an independent student, including only her income and asset information on the form. She will be able to maintain this status each year while in college as the question on FAFSA allows students to say ‘Yes’ “if you can provide a copy of a court's decision that you were in a legal guardianship immediately before you reached the age of being an adult in your state.”


On Upcoming NHHEAF School Counselor Workshops

Each year, the CCP is pleased to present a variety of professional development opportunities for school counselors. We currently have three workshops planned for the remainder of this academic year.

For complete session descriptions, as well as our online registration form, please click here.


CCP Curriculum Available for K‑12 Students

Are you looking for college planning programming to deliver to your students this academic year? How about one or two of our college awareness, admissions, or financial aid programs? Each year, school counselors from across the state utilize our free curriculum to help students plan for college! Many of your favorite CCP classroom presentations have been refreshed and updated for the 2018‑2019 academic year! See (and download) all of our programs here. PowerPoint presentations, detailed lesson plans and applicable handouts and NHHEAF giveaways are provided to guide presenters, excite students and make your program a guaranteed success!