It may seem like your mentee just set foot, in-person or virtually, on campus. In addition to navigating the academic and social adjustment to college life, it is essential that your mentee think about and reapply for financial aid. Even though it may seem like it is happening quickly, supporting your mentee with reapplying for FAFSA is important.
Conversations about money and financial aid may be awkward or overwhelming at first, especially given how much uncertainty your mentee is already experiencing. When discussing financial aid or FAFSA with your mentee, remember you do not have to be an expert to support them. You can support your mentee by helping them list all of the information that they need to gather prior to filling out the FAFSA, reminding them that the FAFSA application opened on October 1st and the earlier they apply the better, be a listening ear so that they can voice their concerns about financial aid or finances in general, or direct them to additional resources and remind them that their Program Manager (PM) is there to help.
The Renewal FAFSA is a way for you to save time and reapply without having to fill out the whole application each year. Much of the information is carried forward from the previous year into a Renewal FAFSA. If your mentee submitted FAFSA last year, they may be able to start a Renewal FAFSA using their FSA ID. Students must update any pre-filled information that has changed since last year and provide the financial information requested. Remember to direct your mentee to your PM and their financial aid officer for additional support.
The first day to apply for the FAFSA is October 1. Your mentee should get their application started as soon as possible! This short video is a step by step guide to filling out the FAFSA, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8nfk5ApcQ4&t=20s
Prompts for Communication:
Here are some ideas for questions or conversations starters you can use this month to open important and timely topics with your mentee.
- Before diving into a conversation about FAFSA and Financial Aid, reconnect with your mentee and gauge how they are doing.
- How are classes going? Which are you enjoying the most and why? Which class is the most challenging and why?
- How is communication with your professors going? Have you been able to meet with them in-person or virtually?
- Have any changes been made to your schedule in terms of in-person or remote learning?
- Have you spoken to anyone about reapplying for FAFSA and financial aid? Do you know who you can go to for support on your FAFSA and financial aid applications?
- Do you remember you FSA ID and PIN? Do you know how to find it?
- Close the discussion by making a list of follow-up items for your next check-in. Remember to reach out directly to your Program Manager for support!
- FAFSA website, https://studentaid.gov/apply-for-aid/fafsa/filling-out
- Undocumented Students, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/get-started/for-undocumented-students/questions-and-answers-about-paying-for-college
- State based financial aid, https://www2.ed.gov/about/contacts/state/index.html
- Form Your Future, https://formyourfuture.org/more-resources