Welcome to the OFHS Financial Aid and Scholarship Page!
The financial aid process is a little bit different for each student, but there are a few things that hold true for just about everyone. Even though you’re still in high school doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start thinking about how you’ll pay for college.
This Financial Aid for High School Students guide will get you up-to-speed on everything you need to know about financial aid as you begin to think about your higher education.
There are several avenues that you can find financial help to offset the cost of college. The first step is filing an application called the FAFSA.
Filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is essential. There are many variables that go into determining eligibility, and there’s no way to know if you are eligible for assistance if you don’t apply.
So, even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for federal financial aid, file the FAFSA.
- The FAFSA is used by agencies and funding sources other than the federal government to determine your eligibility for scholarships, grants, loans, and other financial aid programs.
- The FAFSA is used as your application for federal student loans. Because of this, completing the FAFSA gives you two significant advantages: you may be eligible for non-federal aid, and even if you don’t want a loan now, the paperwork is already done in case you change your mind.
Filing the FAFSA
The quickest way to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is online at FAFSA on the Web. Complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1st of the year in which you will need funding.
It will be easier to fill out the FAFSA if you have these items handy:
- Your Social Security card and driver’s license
- Your W-2 Forms or other records of earned income (and your spouse’s, if you are married) federal income tax return.
- Your parent’s federal income tax return (unless you are filing as an independent)
- Records of other untaxed income you received, including welfare benefits, social security benefits, TANF, veteran’s benefits, and military or clergy allowances
- Your current bank statements and records of stocks, bonds, and other investments
- Your business or farm records, if applicable
- Your alien registration card (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
Tip: If you or your parents have not completed federal income tax returns yet, use estimates from pay stubs and bank statements.
Financial Aid Eligibility
Financial Need is a term used to describe how much need-based financial aid you’re eligible to receive. Your financial need is calculated by subtracting your school’s Cost of Attendance (COA) from your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). In order for you to receive need-based aid, your COA must be greater than your EFC.
Expected Family Contribution
Schools use the processed data from the FAFSA to determine your financial aid eligibility. The basis for determining your award is a number referred to as the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
The EFC is a measure of your family’s ability to pay for college based on student and parent income and asset information, your state of residence, household size, and the number of household members in college. Some factors that go into determining your EFC include demographic, financial, and household data, among other things.
Cost of Attendance
The next step in calculating your financial need is figuring out what the Cost of Attendance (COA) will be for the school you will attend. The school you attend establishes a COA for the academic period for which you will be enrolled. The COA includes tuition, room, and board, fees, and estimated living expenses. Variable costs like books and personal expenses are also included.
After your Expected Family Contribution has been set, students can look to scholarship money to help pay for that cost. There are many different sources and types of scholarship funds.
The following link is a booklet compiled by OFHS Student Services Staff to help you with this process:
National, State, and Local Scholarships Description Book
Scholarship Selection List Worksheet (turn this into Student Services)
Scholarship winners for these scholarship opportunities are selected by a National, State, or Local Organization. Students are also encouraged to check their Career Cruising account for more scholarship opportunities that may apply to them.
There are also many scholarships that are awarded from local businesses and community members that are specific to Oconto Falls students. These scholarship winners are usually picked by a committee comprised of OFHS Staff Members.
Local Scholarship Application –
All scholarships that the school is aware of are awarded at the Senior Banquet in spring.
Additional Information to help with College Planning