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Spring 2019

Do You Have Seniors Still in Need of a Plan for Next Year? Options Abound!

  • Encourage them to apply to any of our CCSNH colleges. They have rolling admission, accept applications throughout the spring and summer, and are a great way to start towards a Bachelor's degree.
  • Help them search for a four-year college still accepting students. After May 1st, visit nacacnet.org to see a full list of colleges nationwide still accepting students for Fall 2019.
  • Remind them to file the 2019‑2020 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)? The Center for College Planning (CCP) files this first step in the financial aid process every day of the year in our Concord office! It’s never too late!
  • Remind them scholarship money is still available. Students looking for free money to assist with a two‑year or Associate degree program should apply for a scholarship through the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation (NHCF) through June 17th.


College Boot Camp for Professionals: Letters of Recommendation & College Essays

Writing a “standout” letter of recommendation or college essay means you and your students need to know what colleges are looking for and what they are not looking for. This summer workshop is designed for school counselors and English and writing teachers and will explore strategies for helping your students pick a strong college essay topic, avoid the ‘pitfalls’ of a bad college essay, and offer tips on writing an impactful letter of recommendation. Our experienced college counselors will use “real‑life” examples to discuss recent trends in college essay topic choice and will give suggestions to help your students rise above the pack. Come join us for a day of interactive learning. Lunch provided. This training will be held Tuesday, July 16, 2019 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at our Concord Campus. Register for this training, and any of our other professional development opportunities, here.


Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner!

Our 20th Annual Destination CollegeSM event was held Saturday, March 30th at Plymouth State University. In a DC first, we had two amazing young women win our Destination College Speech Contest. Milford High School's Margaret (Meg) Sawyer (second from left) and Oyster River High School's Kerstin Nielsen (second from right) spoke with over 1,000 attendees about their own personal path to postsecondary education. For their efforts, each young woman was awarded a $1,000 college scholarship! Congratulations Meg and Kerstin!

In addition, we thank all of our Destination College Speech Contest finalists:

  • Chloe Brown ‑ Inter‑Lakes High School
  • Robert DeFelice ‑ Merrimack High School
  • Allie DeGraffenried ‑ Milford High School
  • Cait McAllister ‑ Concord High School
  • Elise Pinsonneault ‑ Manchester Memorial High School

And a special thank you to your school counseling colleagues Don Mullen (Trinity High School), Bill Hughen (Alvirne High School), and Maureen O’Dea (Londonderry High School) for being part of our Destination College Speech Contest Committee!

And…More Destination College Shout‑Outs!

Events like Destination College do not happen without the hard work and support of our many volunteers from the school counseling, college access, and education communities. Whether you were part of our amazing check-in staff, dazzled our attendees with your presentation, or were part of our event planning committee, we sincerely thank each of you for sharing your time, talent, and expertise on an early Saturday morning!


Annie Alosa (Bishop Brady High School), Deb Castonguay (Southside Middle School), Kate Clark (Belmont High School), Beth Corkum (Bow High School), Doug Cullen (Pinkerton Academy), Lara Crane (Kingswood Regional High School), Colleen DesRuisseaux (Bow High School), Annie Felker (Prospect Mountain High School), Melissa Goyait (UNH Educational Talent Search), Bill Hughen (Alvirne High School), Kate Kulacz (Bow High School), Don Mullen (Trinity High School), Maureen O’Dea (Londonderry High School), Linda Sheff (Farmington High School), Brian Sutherland (Plymouth High School), and Jill Teeters (The Derryfield School).


We also proud to announce in 2020, Destination College moves to Saint Anselm College! Please post a “Save the Date” on your calendars now as we hope you, too, will join us Saturday, March 28th!

As the 2018 tax season is in full swing, the phones at the Center for College Planning (CCP) have been busy with questions from parents about how to “correct” or “update” their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

QUESTION: “I made significantly LESS money in 2018 from what I reported on the FAFSA using my 2017 tax return. Can I log back in and correct my FAFSA using the updated 2018 figures?”

ANSWER: No, a family should not log into FAFSA to change the income data to reflect the new 2018 tax data. For the 2019‑2020 academic year, the only tax year Federal Student Aid allows families to use on the FAFSA form is from 2017.

However, if a family feels their 2018 income data could significantly impact their financial aid award for the upcoming year, they should contact the financial aid offices at the colleges the student has been accepted to and explain what the changes are in the family's finances. This information will typically fall under a “special circumstance” and the financial aid office can best advise if it will make a difference in any financial aid offered.

If a family would like to do a calculation on their own with new income data to get a sense of what type of impact reduced income would have on their Expected Family Contribution (EFC), we recommend using a FREE EFC calculator with the 2018 income data. We suggest using FAFSA4caster.


In this issue of “Questions That Make You Go ‘Hmmm’…,” we take a look at a complex college admissions or financial aid question or situation our CCP counselors have recently encountered that cause 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: A student's biological parents are divorced, mom (who is the custodial parent) has since remarried. However, mom and stepdad are living apart and are in the process of divorcing. In 2017, the couple filed taxes together (married joint‑return) but as of 2018 will file separately. Since FAFSA requires 2017 taxes, the student (and Mom) are unsure whose tax information goes on the FAFSA.

Answer Choices: (only one is correct)

  • A. Since mom and step‑dad are only separated and not officially divorced, they need to include BOTH incomes on the FAFSA.
  • B. FAFSA recognizes the separation (making mom a single parent), BUT, since mom and step‑dad filed taxes together in 2017 (and that is the year FAFSA is looking at) the student has to include BOTH incomes.
  • C. FAFSA recognizes the separation (making mom a single parent), FAFSA will only want mom's income. Since mom and step‑dad filed a joint return, mom will have to estimate a recalculation for her taxes as if she filed separately to only provide her income and asset information.

The Correct Answer is C. – These parents have an informal separation but not a legal separation or divorce. According to Federal Student Aid, during an informal separation the parents may not live together and must maintain separate residences. If the parents have an informal separation they must still file their federal income tax returns as married (either as married filing jointly or as married filing separately) but will file the FAFSA as separated.

If the parents are separated, only the income and assets of the custodial parent are reported on the FAFSA, regardless of the tax filing status of the parents. If the custodial parent files a return with a status of married filing separately, identifying her adjusted gross income (AGI) from the income tax return is easy. On the other hand, if the parents filed a joint return, the custodial parent must calculate the income and taxes paid using information from the joint return and the relevant IRS W‑2 and 1099 forms. The income calculation is based on the income from the custodial parent's W‑2 forms, plus half of the income (or losses) from joint accounts and investments.


In Case You Missed It
In January, CCP counselor Val Castonguay hosted “Demystifying the Financial Aid Process”, a webinar sponsored by New Hampshire Alliance for College and Career Readiness for high school counselors, faculty, and staff. The webinar was developed to help all school personnel gain a high‑level understanding of how financial aid works, who is eligible to apply, and which family members are required to complete the FAFSA form in certain situations. Please feel free to watch to the recording and share with your colleagues.