Five Financial Things You Can Do Now

The fall is always a busy time of year for high school students (and their parents!) as they finish their college applications and start to work on determining how much financial aid they’re eligible for. This year in particular can be stressful, with new changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), more information about which can be found at puc.edu/financeresources. The following is a short list to help keep you on track now that FAFSA has opened—it’s time to get ready for next year!

Apply to college

  • If you haven’t already, apply to PUC at puc.edu/apply
  • Be sure to list your Social Security Number so PUC can access your FAFSA
  • Send in your transcripts and one letter of reference

Submit the FAFSA
(Starting October 1)

  • Get your FSA ID at fsaid.ed.gov, which will serve as your legal signature when you submit the FAFSA; your parents should get one too
  • Start your FAFSA at fafsa.gov—have income information from the previous tax year available to refer back to
  • Be sure to include PUC’s school code (001258) to have your data sent to PUC
  • List at least one in-state college, otherwise you may be ineligible to apply for Cal Grant (CA residents only)
  • Sign your FAFSA with both your FSA ID and your parent’s ID; keep proof of completion

Submit a GPA verification form to the California Student Aid Commission
(
March 2 deadline)

  • Both this form (available at csac.ca.gov) and your FAFSA are required by March 2 to apply for Cal Grant (CA residents only)
  • Be sure to get proof of mailing from the Post Office

Talk with a PUC financial counselor

Search for scholarships

  • See what PUC offers at puc.edu/scholarships (March 2 deadline)
  • A helpful list of external scholarship websites is available at puc.edu/outsidescholarships
  • Don’t limit your search to just online; check local organizations like Kiwanis, Rotary, and your chamber of commerce to see what they offer
  • Ask your PUC financial counselor for ideas of where else to look

Postcards from the Golden State

Greetings from CA

I could’ve worn flip flops today. They would go with my slacks about as well as pickles go with ice cream, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility for a November day in California. My friends in northern Wisconsin could try it, but they’d probably come back with fewer toes than they woke up with. And that is a wonderful thing about living where we do. The weather is just one of the reasons you might consider coming to California for college (and sticking around when you’re done).

San Francisco

If I were to hop in my car and leave my office at PUC right now, I could be at the beach in an hour and a half. Since my boss is able to see this, I’m not going to. However, I could be in San Francisco just as quickly. Or, I could rediscover how bad I am at winter sports after a three hour drive to Tahoe. The point is, you can find just about anything you’re after in California except for Waffle House… And most of us here would consider that a blessing.

Our location also benefits you when it comes time to look for internships and jobs. Being so close to the Bay Area and Silicon Valley gives you the opportunity to work with heavy hitters like Google, Buzzfeed, Airbnb, and Facebook (among others). It’s a fantastic place to build your networks and cultivate some real-world experience, as well as a great way to set up some roots on the west coast if you’re looking to stay.

Yosemite

Oh, did I mention the money stuff? It pays to stay in California thanks to Cal Grant, which can land you over $8,000 dollars if you attend a four-year college in the Golden State. It’s just something to keep in mind when all those out-of-state colleges start fawning over you and your 4.2 GPA in the spring.

So between the places, the people, the weather, the food, and the scholarships, what more are you looking for in a place to spend your college years? You’d be hard-pressed to find a more diverse and vibrant place to live than California. Take it from someone who travels for three months out of the year… There’s no better place to call home.

Don’t Miss Out on Cal Grant!

If you’re a high school senior, by now you’ve realized a big part of your senior year is actually getting ready for next year, your first year of college. Even if you’ve already decided what school to attend and have been accepted, there’s still a lengthy to do list you need to complete.

One of the most important things you can do to get ready for college is fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This information is used by colleges to help them determine how much college-sponsored, state, and federal aid a student is eligible for, including grants and loans. Read our “Filling Out the FAFSA” blog post if you need tips on how to fill yours out.

For students who live in California, it’s critical to complete the FAFSA before the deadline for Cal Grant, which is March 2nd this year. Cal Grant is a significant award potentially worth $8,000+ and is money you don’t have to pay back. It can be used at most schools in California, including community colleges, California State University, University of California, and qualifying independent and career colleges or technical schools. Eligibility for Cal Grant is based on whether a student recently graduated high school, their verified GPA, their FAFSA, and the type of California colleges listed on their FAFSA.

Applying for Cal Grant takes just two simple steps!

  1. Submit your FAFSA. To ensure your FAFSA information is sent to the California Student Aid Commission to be considered for Cal Grant, the first three colleges you choose to receive your FAFSA information must be four-year colleges located in California – like PUC!
  1. Submit a GPA verification form. Your school may automatically submit your GPA for you, or you might need to submit it using the verification form. This form needs to be certified by your school and submitted to the California Student Aid Commission before the March 2nd deadline.

Need help?

It can be stressful to keep track of everything you need to get done to be ready for college, and adding in finances can make things extra confusing. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and our Student Finance office has five Financial Counselors who can answer any questions you have about Cal Grant. They can be reached at studentfinance@puc.edu or 800.862.7080 option 1.

You may also find reading through these Cal Grant FAQs helpful: http://www.csac.ca.gov/doc.asp?id=904

Editor’s note: This is dated material and does not necessarily reflect how the student financial services office at PUC and the financial process currently operates. Please contact your financial counselor for more information.