March 2019

Financial Aid Award Letters

Financial aid award letters, also known as financial aid packages or award notifications, have started to arrive for high school seniors who have been accepted to college. These awards will detail the components of financial aid you have been offered for your freshman year of college. In each of the next two editions of the Varsity Letter we will highlight one type of financial aid you may find on your award letter. This month, we will consider Federal Student Loans.

Why are student loans part of my financial aid package? Remember: “financial aid” is anything that helps a student to make college more affordable. Therefore, low interest government loans offered to students are considered financial aid.

Simply by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the vast majority of freshmen will be eligible to obtain a Federal Direct Student Loan in the amount of $5,500. There are two types of Direct Loans:

Federal Direct Subsidized Loan: The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) pays the interest while the student is enrolled in school at least half-time and during deferment periods. In order to receive a subsidized loan, students must have demonstrated financial need with the information provided on the FAFSA.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans: The borrower is responsible for the interest which accrues during the life of the loan. Like a subsidized loan, the student must be enrolled at least half-time and for this loan, financial need is not a requirement.

No payments are required to be made on a Direct Loan while the student is enrolled at least half‑time, but payments may be made at any time without penalty. It is in the student's best interest to pay any interest that may accrue on an unsubsidized loan through college. In this way, you can avoid paying interest on the interest which has accrued on your loan.

Do you have more questions about the components of your financial aid award(s)? Our Center for College Planning (CCP) college counselors are presenting our “Paying for College 101” workshop at many New Hampshire high schools through mid‑April. In this presentation, our counselors decipher the various components of your award, discuss possible financing options for your family, and explain your next steps. Check our Events Calendar to see when we will be presenting at your high school. If you do not see your high school listed on the calendar, we invite you and your family to attend a presentation at a nearby high school!

Would you like the opportunity to sit down and discuss your award letters and financing options? Our college counselors are available for individual appointments to help you and your family compare your financial aid award letters and to offer guidance regarding potential funding options. Call us today at 888.747.2382, x119 to schedule your FREE 60 minute appointment. And remember, most colleges will require you to confirm your acceptance with a deposit by the National Candidate Reply Date, which is May 1, 2019.


It's Never Too Late to Make Plans for Life After High School

Seniors, has this year just flown by? Are you hearing your friends talking about college acceptances and financial aid award letters and you are still thinking about your plans for after graduation day? It's not too late to make your plans for pursuing a certificate, an Associate, or a Bachelor's degree!

Our college counselors welcome the opportunity to meet with you to talk about which options to consider and to help you file your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Call us today at 888.747.2382, x119 to schedule your FREE 60‑minute appointment!


Support Services for College Students

Do you currently have a 504 or an IEP? Do you have questions about which services will be available to you in college? A college is required to provide students in need with appropriate accommodations so that all students have an equal opportunity to succeed, and a college's Disabilities Services Office can help you understand how the services will differ from high school to college. To take advantage of these services, you will need to contact the Disabilities Services office at the college you plan to attend to request any accommodations you may need. View the services available at Keene State College, Southern New Hampshire University, and University of Massachusetts (Lowell) as examples of what a Disabilities Service office has to offer.


Reasons to Attend a College Fair

High school juniors ‑ now's the time to start learning about colleges and the programs they offer by attending a college fair. Why, you ask? Here are four great reasons that college fairs are the perfect way to start your college planning process:

  • College fairs are a great way to learn a little bit about several different colleges in a short amount of time.
  • College fairs generally last no more than two hours. It's not enough time to determine if a particular school is the right one for you, but it is long enough to get a feel as to whether or not you want to explore the school further.
  • Admission counselors travel by territory. They want to know the students who are applying to their college from their assigned high schools. Shake their hand and ask a question. It's uncanny how they are able to remember students they meet at college fair months down the road, but they do.
  • And finally, you are demonstrating your interest in a college. Admission counselors note any interactions with students whether on campus, at a college fair, or during a visit to your high school. Every interaction adds up to let the college know you are genuinely interested in attending.

For more tips and some questions to ask a college admissions counselor at a college fair, click here. For a list of upcoming college fairs, click here.

Make sure to attend our 20th Annual Destination College College Fair Saturday, March 30th from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. at Plymouth State University (PSU). For a list of participating colleges, click here. If you are able to join us for the day, we invite you and your family to register for all of the Destination College Events! While registration for the day's events will close in mid‑March, the college fair is open to students of all ages with no prior registration.


Juniors ‑ A Quick College Planning Task List for March

Here are Four Things You Can Do Now!

  • Sign up for a Spring or Summer SAT or ACT (and remember to study for the SAT ‑ for FREE!).
  • Register for our 20th Annual Destination College, our college convention for high school juniors and parents. You can attend workshops about writing your college essay, NCAA athletic participation, creative ways to pay for college, using social media in your college process, and more!
  • Sign-up for a Summer College Boot Camp workshop.
  • Schedule a College Prep appointment with a CCP counselor (available after May 1st) where we will help you develop a list of schools for you to apply to! Call us at 888.747.2382, ext. 119 to book your FREE appointment!


This month we feature TWO scholarship opportunities for high school seniors. Did you know the best resource for local scholarships is your high school counseling office? Check with them to learn more about your school's scholarship application process and possible deadlines.

Are you under the age of 21? Have you experienced homelessness at some point during your school career? Are you pursuing a post‑secondary education? Apply for the Hope Starts Here Scholarship by May 1st via New Hampshire Coalition to End Homelessness.

Planet Fitness is offering $5,000 scholarships to thirty deserving teens who model the judgement free, pro‑kindness, and anti‑bullying values for which Planet Fitness and Boys & Girls Clubs of America collectively stand. While many scholarships take into consideration only academics and/or athletics, this scholarship ‑ part of Planet Fitness' Judgement Free Generation initiative ‑ will focus on acceptance and will be awarded to those students that are passionate about spreading kindness, and putting a stop to bullying. Applications are due March 15th and applicants must be an active member of a Boys and Girls Club.


“I Am College Bound” Promo of the Month

New Hampshire high school students are encouraged to enter the “I Am College Bound” Promo of the Month Contest. If you correctly answer our college admissions or financial aid quiz question, you will be entered to win one (1) of two (2) $25 Amazon gift cards! Enter each month for your chance to win!

The “College Bound” campaign provides New Hampshire high school students with the inspiration, information and planning support to pursue higher education goals. The Center for College Planning (CCP) team especially encourages low income students, their parents and their mentors to recognize that New Hampshire campuses and the U.S. Department of Education offer strong financial aid programs which enable eligible individuals to access financial assistance in paying for education beyond high school.


For the latest college admissions and financial aid information, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, and check out the NHHEAF Channel on YouTube! And catch up on reading our recent Varsity Letter issues here.