Information for High School Students
If you are in high school and considering college, you may need to apply for financial aid to help pay for the costs of attending. Use this guide to assist you in your planning as you begin looking at colleges and ways to finance your education.
- Consider applying for financial aid even if you don’t think your family will qualify. Indicate on the Common Application that you will apply for aid. If you indicate that you will NOT be applying for aid, you may not be able to apply for aid until you have been enrolled for a number of semesters. Some colleges may require that you enroll for up to four semesters before applying for aid if you did not apply at the time of admission; Hampshire requires two semesters if you don't apply for aid at the time of admission. Don't let this happen to you; plan to apply for aid at the same time you are applying for admission.
- Create a folder or a spreadsheet for each college to which you plan to apply. Include the contact information for the financial aid office (phone, email, web), what is required, and the due dates. If you are late with your application, you may lose eligibility at some colleges. Every school requires the FAFSA form. Some colleges may require the CSS Profile form. The Profile is similar to the FAFSA except the Profile has more questions, including home equity, business value, and medical expenses. The Profile also has a section where you can write about your family's situation and explain extraordinary circumstances, including elder care or special needs expenses for a sibling, a recent job loss, or changes to income or family size. If your parents are not living together, we also need the CSS Non-custodial Parent Profile. If you don’t know the whereabouts of your non-custodial parent, contact the financial aid office at each college to see what you need to do to waive this non-custodial parent. Some schools may have a separate financial aid application in addition to the Profile and FAFSA; Hampshire does not. Become familiar with what is required for each college and provide the information by the due dates to avoid any delays in processing or loss of eligibility.
- Create a Federal Student Aid pin number and log in password (FSA ID) for yourself and have your parents create one as well. The FSA ID is used to log on to various Federal Student Aid websites, including the FAFSA, StudentLoans.gov, and other sites. You and your parent will also use the FSA ID to sign electronically the FAFSA form and your Direct loan promissory note. Follow the instructions and keep the IDs in a safe place for future use.
- When completing the forms, read the instructions for each question carefully and thoroughly. For the tax and income questions, the instructions will tell you where the responses can be found on your tax return or W-2 form. Have these forms in front of you when you complete the FAFSA and Profile. Visit our website for a list of tips and a list of common mistakes to avoid when completing the FAFSA. Consider completing the FAFSA and the Profile at the same time to avoid any conflicting data. You may complete both forms beginning on the first day of October.
- Consider researching outside scholarships. These are free grants from organizations and foundations. We have a list of national searches on our web page, but you may have better luck with local scholarships. Ask your guidance office for the local foundation in your area responsible for the management of hundreds of local programs. Some foundations offer no-interest loans; don’t overlook these, as these loans may be able to help you fill the gap between your financial aid and your bill.
- Consider attending a financial aid night at a local high school or community center. Ask your high school guidance office for dates and locations.
- Get to know the colleges that interest you. The College Scorecard is a good place to start.
- Become familiar with each financial aid office's website. For Hampshire College, be sure to visit the pages related to applying for financial aid for new students and the eligibility pages.
- If you have any questions, general or specific to your aid application, contact the financial aid office. We are here to help you with the financial aid process. For Hampshire College, please call us at 413.559.5484 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.