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College Isn’t Cheap
Tuesday, February 17, 2009 • Posted February 17, 2009

How MHS and the community of Mason are helping their students afford college

The faculty and staff of Mason High School are so pleased to be part of a community that recognizes the value of education and supports the students as this community does. The students are direct beneficiaries of the generosity of this community through the many local scholarships. Last year, students received over $40,000 in scholarships given by local community groups, individuals or former students of MHS. The scholarship listing is updated weekly and posted on-line at www.masonisd.net for students and parents to access easily. (Click on “Teacher Pages,” then “Melany Canfield,” and “Local Scholarships.”) Many seniors are taking advantage of these opportunities by applying for every scholarship for which they qualify! If you would like to institute a new scholarship, or if you have offered a scholarship in the past and would like to continue the award, please contact Melany Canfield, high school counselor, at 347-1122 extension 224. I will then be able to customize an application and add it to our on-line offering.

Mason High School will host “FAFSA Night” for seniors and their parents in the Mason High School Library from 5:30 until 7:30 in the evening on Wednesday, February 23rd. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the document used by colleges and universities to determine how much students will receive in grants, loans and work study programs. Students are not eligible for any kind of financial assistance until they fill out this on-line document. In addition to federal aid, most colleges require students to fill out a FAFSA in order to qualify for scholarship awards.

Financial need is determined by calculating the difference between the student’s cost of attending the school and the amount the family is expected to contribute to the student’s education. Schools use this information to present their financial aid packages to the students in an award letter, which is sent through the US mail or via e-mail.

It is important for seniors and parents to fill out the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1st of the year the student will enter college. The reason for this is that the campus-based grants, loans and work study programs, which are administered by the financial aid office at each college and university, have limited funds. The earlier a student applies, the more likely the funds will be available and the more likely the student will receive available campus-based aid.

The on-line version of the FAFSA is relatively easy to navigate. There are instructions available to help you answer every question and the software allows you to skip questions that don’t apply to you. The first step to filling out the FAFSA is applying for a Personal Identification Number (PIN). I you haven’t done this yet, got to www.pin.ed.gov to apply. Both the student and the parent need a PIN in order to fill out the FAFSA.

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