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VSAC. paying. financial aid training FAQs. VSAC white paper. Aspirations project. Homeless youth. Naviance. for college

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financial aid training FAQs

paying

for college

Submitted by school counselors at VSAC’s December 2015 financial aid training workshop

VSAC white paper

Of those who aspired to go to college and took a gap year, how many ended up enrolling in college?

57 percent of students who took a gap year failed to enroll the following fall. Consequently, less than half (43%) followed through with their plans to enroll the following fall.

Does the white paper have all of this data?

All of the data cited in the white paper presentation is contained in the document “Vermont’s Class of 2012: Highlights and challenges for pursuing a postsecondary education.”

Can the link to the white paper be added to the financial aid resources sheet? The link to the white paper is available at vsac.org/finaidresourcesunder

“Additional resources.” You can also find it at vsacnews.orgunder the “Research” tab.

Aspirations project

Is the Green Mountain Tech Center part of the aspirations project?

Yes; this is a community-based effort, and students attending the Green Mountain Tech Center are included in many parts of this initiative, formally and informally. What grade level and age does the aspirations project cover?

While the preliminary focus is on students in middle schools and high schools, we are also starting to reach into elementary schools.

Homeless youth

Do we have a larger population of younger homeless youth compared with older youth?

VSAC does not have access to data that would definitively answer this question.

Naviance

How long will the AOE and VSAC relationship continue for funding?

VSAC is committed to the success of the Naviance platform and will evaluate the school adoption rates, continued use of Naviance, and overall satisfaction with the product on an ongoing basis to make sure the investment from all parties is of high value. We will also keep the funding support from AOE (for Naviance) as a part of our partnership conversations with AOE.

VSA

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Vermont Student Assistance Corporation

10 East Allen Street, PO Box 2000 Winooski, VT 05404

Toll-free 800-798-8722

In the Burlington area 655-4050

Fax 802-654-3765

50

years

Portability

How much money does go to students attending school out of state? In FY15, 4,004 students (29 percent of grant recipients) used $4.4 million (23 percent) of grant dollars out of state.

Dual enrollment/early college stipend program

What about dual enrollment out of state? Are out-of-state schools eligible? No. It looks like we’re going to run out of the stipend funds this academic year. Will there be enough for the summer courses?

Unfortunately, it does not currently look as though we’ll have funds for courses that start in May or June. If the program continues to be funded, we should be able to award students for courses taken in July or August.

Would UB be considered to be the validator, or does it need to go through their school? Is the $150 a straight sum, or is it adjusted?

The course — if it is to be paid for by dual enrollment — has to be registered and approved by a school dual enrollment designee. Most UB programs sign up their high school students in the spring with the school counselors in anticipation of their summer UB programs if they’re enrolling students in DE courses.

Is the $150 a straight sum, or is it adjusted?

The $150 is a straight sum. The task force that discussed and recommended the amount of the award felt strongly that $150 was very low, even for a 15-week semester of travel expenses. When books and fees are included, it was determined that there would not be excess funds. There is no adjustment.

Are these one-time funds or available for multiple semesters?

Students can receive tuition vouchers for only two dual enrollment courses while in high school. The maximum stipend is $150/semester. If they took both courses in one semester, they would receive a single stipend only. If they took courses in two semesters, they would be eligible to be considered as long as funding was available.

How does the student receive the funds?

The stipend — which is for books, fees, and/or transportation — is sent directly to the student in a check made out to the student. We try to disburse the check a few weeks before the start of classes so that the student can purchase his or her book(s) in time for the first class.

Do students get the money automatically when they register for dual enroll-ment?

There is no separate application for the dual enrollment stipend. On the voucher application, students are asked whether they’re eligible for free or reduced-price hot lunch. A separate question asks them whether they’ll have out-of-pocket expenses. If they answer YES to both questions, their names are forwarded to the designees at their high schools to validate the responses. Once validation is received and students have registered for their courses, funds will be disbursed.

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Vermont Student Assistance Corporation

10 East Allen Street, PO Box 2000 Winooski, VT 05404

Toll-free 800-798-8722

In the Burlington area 655-4050

Fax 802-654-3765

Online atwww.vsac.org

E-mail us atinfo@vsac.org

50

years

How and when will schools be notified if there is a funding shortage? VSAC will reach out to all of the high school dual enrollment designees to let them know once funding has all been committed.

FAFSA

Is the e-mail associated with the FAFSA ID something that can be changed? Yes; there is an option to edit the FSA ID in order to change the e-mail address. Are students required to complete the FAFSA for institutional merit aid?

This is really an institution-specific question, but since the FAFSA is required for all federal aid (including Direct loans for students and institutional need-based aid), it makes sense for all students to complete it.

Do videos on the education professionals website have subtitles?

Unfortunately, we haven’t yet developed the capacity for providing subtitles.

FAFSA completion project

Is it the same MOU as the one for scholarships?

No; there are two different MOUs — one for the scholarship uploader and one for FAFSA completion.

Where do we find the FAFSA completion MOU if we don’t have one?

Contact Marcia Corey at corey@vsac.orgto request the FAFSA completion MOU. Are MOUs available for tech centers? Can tech centers upload rosters?

Unfortunately, the FAFSA completion tool is not available for tech centers. If you have students that are not VT residents, can you get their FAFSA data?

No; we receive FAFSA data only for students who are Vermont residents. Does the MOU need to be signed annually? No.

Is it open for new schools to sign up now and begin using now?

Yes; contact Marcia Corey at corey@vsac.org, and VSAC will send you the MOU if it hasn’t been completed yet.

Prior/prior year & new start time for FAFSA filing

So October 1, 2016, is the date we’re talking about for the first year of prior/prior?

Yes; students who need financial aid for the 2017–2018 college year can apply for their FAFSAs any time between October 1, 2016, and June 30, 2018. They will use 2015 tax information.

So the 2015 tax forms will be used twice?

Yes; 2015 tax information will be used when applying now for the 2016–2017 college year. It will also be used when applying for the 2017–2018 college year.

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Is the VT grant awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis? Is there a date/time stamp from when you complete both the FAFSA and VT grant?

Yes; the VT grant is awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. VSAC records the submission of a student’s FAFSA and grant application, and this can be viewed within a student’s grant file by clicking on CORRESPONDENCE. FAFSA deadlines are set by colleges. Students need to check and meet the FAFSA dead-line for each college to which they’re applying.

If there is a significant income drop but families are using the prior year’s income, are families able to use the newer income information so the student can qualify for more aid?

Families will not be able to put 2016 income into the 2017–2018 FAFSA. A significant drop in income must instead be reported by letter through the mail to VSAC and to any colleges to which the student has applied. The letter should provide as much specific financial detail as possible.

Will the students filling out the FAFSA for the first year of prior-prior be able to use the data retrieval tool?

The IRS data retrieval tool will be available for use as soon as early filing begins in October 2016, because 2015 federal tax returns should all have been filed and processed by then.

Does this mean that for 2017–2018 people will submit the FAFSA first and then come back a few months later to apply for the VT grant?

VSAC is planning to have the online 2017–2018 grant application operational so students and parents completing the FAFSA can link to the VSAC grant application from the FAFSA confirmation page as they are able to do now. Is VSAC planning to move PFC nights back?

A decision has not yet been made on plans for Paying for College nights. Will this replace the use of the CSS Profile for early decision?

Since the CSS Profile collects different and additional information compared with the FAFSA, it will likely still be needed along with the FAFSA for early decision among institutions that currently require it.

Will colleges change their deadlines to align with the FAFSA filing date change? The answer to this question is specific to colleges. Families will have to contact individual colleges to find out what changes, if any, each school will make.

Grants

Is there an age limit for when parent information is needed?

Students 24 or older are no longer expected to provide parent information. For the 2016–2017 academic year, the age question on the FAFSA reads “Were you born before January 1, 1993?”

If a student graduates in June, he or she cannot access or apply for the non-degree until September?

Only students who do not have a high school diploma or a GED must not have

Vermont Student Assistance Corporation

10 East Allen Street, PO Box 2000 Winooski, VT 05404

Toll-free 800-798-8722

In the Burlington area 655-4050

Fax 802-654-3765

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Students often don’t know whether or not they have a myVSAC account. Can VSAC let schools know whether or not a student has an account?

A student can select the myVSAC tab on VSAC’s homepage and enter his or her e-mail addresss under “Forgot User Name?” in order to see whether or not an account exists. This assumes that the account was created using the e-mail address that’s entered. If a school has submitted the MOU for FAFSA completion, the school will be notified as to whether or not each senior has submitted a VT grant application and the FAFSA. This could be an indicator of a myVSAC account, but not confirmation, since a student might have submitted a paper application. Would VSAC consider connecting all MOUs and accounts for the pieces that VSAC oversees (VT grant, FAFSA uploader, Naviance, scholarships, etc.)?

This is a goal, but we cannot determine when this might happen. Does VSAC accept electronic tax information for parents?

Yes; parents can upload tax returns, when requested, through their children’s

myVSAC accounts.

Scholarships

How many students apply for the early-bird scholarship?

Over the past four years, the number of students who qualify for the early-bird scholarship has averaged 108.

Will there ever be a time where colleges can look at scholarship information from the VSAC site in the same way that they can for the FAFSA? They’re looking for award information by student.

It is a goal, but we cannot guarantee when this will happen.

Is the early-bird deadline for first-time applicants or all applicants? The early-bird deadline applies to any and all applicants.

Loans

When will the #yourloan publication be available?

The Web content should be available in March 2016. A printed version will be available with VSAC’s other annual publications in August 2016.

What would be the advantages of the VSAC parent loan versus the federal loans?

Because VSAC is a not-for-profit agency, our VT Advantage loans have lower interest rates than federal PLUS loans, which may make them a better financing option for your families, depending on their situation. In addition, VSAC’s VT Advantage loans are serviced locally by VSAC, whereas most federal loans are serviced out of state.

Do you have any information on the rates and terms for VT Advantage loan for parents?

Rates and terms will be available in early spring at vsac.org/advantage.

Vermont Student Assistance Corporation

10 East Allen Street, PO Box 2000 Winooski, VT 05404

Toll-free 800-798-8722

In the Burlington area 655-4050

Fax 802-654-3765

Online atwww.vsac.org

E-mail us atinfo@vsac.org

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