Counseling

Counselor Assignments & Contact Information
Counseling assignments are identified by students’ last name: 

A-D  Mrs Shari Smith - ssmith@portageps.org - 323-5527
E-K   Mrs Krista Hovestadt - khovestadt@portageps.org - 323-5420
L-Ri  Ms Amy DiMaggio (Director) - adimaggio@portageps.org - 323-5472
Rj-Z  Mrs Cindy Figueroa - cfigueroa@portageps.org - 323-5424

Julie Clark, Admin Assistant - jaclark@portageps.org - 323-5475
Deb Beverly, Admin Assistant - dbeverly@portageps.org - 323-5464
Counseling office - fax machine 323-5550

Office Hours  7:00 am to 3:30 pm. To schedule an appointment with a counselor, please call Julie Clark at 323-5475. Counselors will be in departmental meetings every Tuesday from 1:00 until 2:00 pm to meet as a Professional Learning Community. Enrollment is by appointment only.  Please call Julie Clark at 323-5475 to make an appointment to enroll.

National Merit Semi-Finalists  ‚ÄčWe are extremely proud to announce that two PN senior students qualified to be National Merit Semi-Finalists this year!  CONGRATULATIONS TO Isaiah Dykstra and Claire Holley.  These students scored in the top 1% of all students in Michigan on the PSAT test last fall.  Their scores qualify them to be Semi-Finalists in the National Merit Scholarship program.  These semi-finalists rank among the top 16,000 students in Michigan.  From this semi-finalist stage, approximately 8,000 students will continue on to become National Merit Finalists.  These finalists will be eligible to receive a variety of different scholarships from public and private companies.  We are so honored and so proud to have them among the top 1% in Michigan!  When you see them, please extend your congratulations!!  In addition, three other students received the honor of Commended Student: Congrats to Jonathan Jameson, Vivek Parikh and Danielle Pike. 

Financial Aid Night  If you were not able to attend this event on October 10, you can view the the presentations given by clicking here: WMUKalamazoo Foundation.

September Class Presentations During the week of September 12, our counselors gave detailed presentations to each grade during their English classes.  We encourage parents to look these over and discuss with their student(s):  SENIORS were presented with specific info on the college application process and standardized testing:  Senior Presentation.  JUNIORS received info on the MME/SAT and PSAT:  Junior Presentation.  SOPHOMORES and FRESHMEN were presented with info and tips to build a successful high school career:  Freshman Presentation and Sophomore Presentation.

December Junior Presentation  In December, our counselors presented to our Juniors regarding college research and planning.  Click here to see that presentation.

Class Newsletters, Fall 2016  
Class of 2020 FreshmenClass of 2019 SophomoresClass of 2018 JuniorsClass of 2017 Seniors 

A Note to Parents  The counselors would like to remind parents and students that we are here to advocate for the students and their needs.  We would like to encourage parents to:

   1.  Contact the individual teachers first with concerns about assignments, grades or student progress.  

   2.  Ask teachers for specific feedback and to offer specific recommendations/suggestions for improving academic achievement in their classes.  

   3.  Contact counselors if grade concerns are not resolved. 

   4.  Seek additional help from teachers before or after school.

   5.  Consult teachers to make appointments.

   6.  Utilize the free "drop-in" tutoring service provided by NHS. 

   7.  Contact counselors if/when questions arise.

Career Cruising Website  The Career Cruising website is for students interested in exploring career choices for life after high school.  This free site allows students to take a short interest inventory that aligns them with individualized career options to consider, as well as military careers and vocational studies.  Students were introduced to this site briefly during counselor presentations in English classes earlier this year.  Also, the Health/Freshman Focus classes began using this site as a part of their course curriculum last year.  Students log in using their Skyward user name and password to create their account. Visit the site here or by clicking on the logo above.

Transcript Requests  If you need a transcript for college or scholarship applications, here is a link directly to the Parchment site. To apply to all in-state colleges, students must request their PN transcript thru Parchment. Out-of-state transcript requests are handled within the Counseling office. Click here for a great student "Tool Kit" from Parchment.

                

 

Testing Dates

(Testing dates for 2016/2017 school year will be announced at a later date)

Test Prep

The best preparation for the ACT or SAT is a rigorous high school curriculum, provided by Portage Northern.  The best organized test prep is online at www.actstudent.org  or  www.collegeboard.com.  There are full length practice tests online for students to access.

School Code
PORTAGE NORTHERN'S "SCHOOL CODE" IS 233 - 072
This number is used for all standardized testing.

ACT and SAT National Test Dates and Info
All test dates, info and registration occur online through each tests website. For ACT testing info, go to www.actstudent.org. For SAT testing info, go to www.collegeboard.com.


Scholarships

NRA Scholarship - Deadline - December 31, 2016 (4 Awards - $1,000)
Green Home Improvement ScholarshipDecember 15, 2016 (1 Award - $1,000)
Rubincam Youth AwardDecember 15, 2016 (2 Awards - $500)
Legal Templates Business Plan ScholarshipDecember 15, 2016 (1 Award - $1,000)
FormSwift ScholarshipDecember 15, 2016 (1 Award - $1,000)
Burger King ScholarshipDecember 15, 2016 (10 Awards - $50,000)
Kelsey's Law Distracted Driving Scholarship   
$5,000 worth of scholarships offered to Michigan high school juniors and seniors.   Deadline:  August 31st of each year
AXA Achievement ScholarshipDecember 15, 2016 (1 Award - $10,000)
QuitDay ScholarshipDecember 9, 2016 (3 Awards - $2,000)

Lawnstarter Scholarship - (note: applications for Class of 2017 no longer being accepted.  Deadline for Class of 2018 is August 20, 2017)  Open to all majors as long as they are an incoming or current full-time student enrolled in a 2-year/ 4-year/ or graduate program and are passionate about entrepreneurship. Students apply by sending a transcript, resume, and a 500-700 word essay answering the following prompt "What makes them passionate about building a business?" to scholarships@lawnstarter.com.  Number of Awards: 2 (one per semester)

Kalamazoo Foundation  Scholarship brochures will be available in the Counseling office as soon as we receive them.  Listen to daily announcements for exact date.

Portage Education Foundation  PEF scholarship opportunities and applications can be found here. Deadline for applications is typically mid-February. 

Tuition Assistance Program  TIP (Tuition Incentive Program) is for Michigan parents and students who qualify.  Please go to their website for more details.  www.michigan.gov/ssg  (Scroll to the bottom of their webpage for brochure and Powerpoint presentation.)

Robert P. Amrhein Memorial Scholarship  Robert Amrhein was a young man who participated in many activities.  In addition to being a valued member of the debate team at PNHS, he competed in forensics, the swim team, was a member of the USS Great Lakes Aquatics team and was a member of the National Honor Society.  During high school he received several awards for outstanding academic performance, leadership and citizenship.  These awards included the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen Award, the Portage Northern Principal’s Leadership Award, the Jimmy Holms Perseverance Award and the Portage Northern Debate Departmental Award.

As a PN graduate of the class of 2006, some of Robert’s most admirable qualities were:  honesty, integrity, selflessness, acceptance of others, concern for others, leadership, compassion and a general spirit of good will.  Robert succumbed to cancer after a long, courageous battle on June 7, 2007. 

How to apply:  Applications are available online at the Portage Education Foundation webpage typically by early December.  Students may be nominated by Portage Northern faculty.  Nominated students interested in being considered for the scholarship will be asked to fill out an application.  If not nominated, a student may nominate himself/herself.

Deadline:  Applications must be turned in to the Portage Education Foundation (PEF) by typically mid-February.  Listen for announcements for more info about PEF.  Recipient will be selected and notified in April. Recipient will be honored at the Senior Academic Awards Ceremony in May.

Criteria:  A PNHS senior who has attended Northern for at least 2 years and plans to attend a two or four year accredited college, university or vocational/technical school.  The student demonstrates the following qualities:  Honesty, integrity, selflessness, acceptance of others, concern for others, character, leadership, compassion and a general spirit of good will.  The award is primarily merit based, but financial need may be considered.

Award:  $4,000 non-renewable award…payable only to recipient’s college/university/school.

Dr. Charles C. Warfield Youth Community Service Award  The Dr. Charles C. Warfield Youth Community Service Award was created to celebrate the success of youth who are involved in community service throughout the Kalamazoo/Portage vicinity. Dr. Warfield is a quintessential leader and community activist. Dr. Warfield is currently the president of the local NAACP branch and is the Education Chair for the NAACP Michigan State Conference. He is active in a plethora of community-based organizations and activities.  This prestigious award will acknowledge the fine efforts of a local African-American high school senior who embraces the spirit of diversity, while being energetically and enthusiastically engaged in community service, community projects, and other community-based activities.  Click here for more information.

AES Engineers Scholarship  AES Engineers scholarship deadline is (TBA).  They will be awarding $500 to the winner(s) each year.  To apply, visit http://www.aesengineers.com/scholarships.htm.

Zumper Scholarship $1,000 College Scholarship. We’re looking for outstanding students who have helped their classmates or community in a tremendous way. Maybe you started a club that raised $10,000 for charity, or championed recycling and sustainable practices across campus. Whatever it is, we’d love to hear about it!  Please read the New York rental guide at https://www.zumper.com/apartments-for-rent/new-york-ny before applying!  Zumper Description: Free apartment and home rental search with real-time updates. Sort listings by price, number of bedrooms, cat friendly, dog friendly, pet friendly, and time posted. Available on iOS & Android.

B. Davis Scholarship  The creators of the “Student Award Search Aid” website are offering a scholarship for 2017. Please visit our website at http://www.studentawardsearch.com/scholarships.htm to read about us and to apply for our scholarship.  While you’re there, please browse through the rest of the site to learn more about applying for scholarships.   Our website was developed solely for the purpose of helping students locate and apply for scholarships.  We are trying to improve the students’ chances for success.  The site is free and we charge nothing for the information or the application.  The deadline for applications is May 22, 2017.  Amount of Scholarship:  $1,000.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at awards@studentawardsearch.com

Clarence L. Remynse Scholarship  Seniors: You can apply using Kalamazoo Foundation's online scholarship application. Students can access information and apply for the Clarence L. Remynse Scholarship on their website at www.kalfound.org. The deadline to apply for the Clarence L. Remynse Scholarship will be announced, but typically is early December.

Western Michigan GLOBAL AMBASSADOR SCHOLARSHIP:  NEW in 2016, this is a competition for a pre-freshman study abroad course and funds for a later study abroad program at WMU. In order to be considered for this award, students must be admissible to WMU and submit a separate scholarship competition application. Both applications must be received by October 7, 2016. Up to 100 applicants will be invited to compete in the on-campus competition on November 11, 2016.

Western Michigan MEDALLION SCHOLARSHIP:  The admissions application deadline for consideration is November 1, 2016. This deadline is a full month earlier than prior years. The Medallion Scholarship is one of the most prestigious awards at the university and worth a total of $60,000. Eligible students will be invited to participate in one of the competition dates, hosted on December 2 and 3. For eligibility, students must have a 3.7+ GPA and a 26+ ACT composite or 1240+ redesigned SAT composite score.

Full details, dates, and deadlines for WMU scholarships are available by visiting wmich.edu/admissions/freshmen/cost-scholarships/scholarships.




Free $cholarship $earch $ervices  
Look beyond colleges and universities for scholarships.  Educational funding in the private sector has increased dramatically in recent years.  Review mainstream sources of funds, and be creative.  Think about what makes you different, and find groups that value that difference.  Many organizations offer scholarships, including: state and local governments, businesses, employers, clubs, associations, high schools, civic groups, religious organizations, trade associations, labor unions, political parties, military associations, private foundations, private charities, and ethnic organizations..

 

Kalamazoo Community Foundation: www.kalfound.org for students who live in Kalamazoo County

StudentScholarships.org:  studentscholarships.org several relevant scholarships

FastWeb: www.fastweb.com a searchable database of over 400,000 scholarships, fellowships, grants & loans

BankOne Sponsored College Scholarship Site:  www.supercollege.com

College NET MACH 25: www.collegenet.com the fastest search on the Web

Free Scholarship Search: www.freschinfo.com has a database of over 1,900 resources

MI-SEARCH: www.michigan.gov/mistudentaid a search site for Michigan Residents

Black Excel Scholarship Gatewayhttp://www.BlackExcel.org/link4.htm

National Association of Black Journalists: Students should be attending a four-year university. A grade point average of 3.0 is desirable. Eligible students must be majoring in journalism-print, photography, radio, or television. http://www.nabj.org/programs/scholarships

Arts Recognition and Talent Search Awards: These awards are granted to high school or college students (17-19 years of age) who show talent in dance, voice, music, art, photography, jazz, visual arts, writing, or other creative areas. You must audition or submit a portfolio or tape. The award is to be used for freshman year in college. Award amounts: from $100 to $3,000.  Deadline is June 1 or A1 (for registration in specific regions).  http://artsawards.org

Society of Women Engineers: These scholarships are targeted for women who are majoring in engineering or computer science. Award amounts are from $200 to $5000, and at least 90 are granted. The deadline for students already in college is February 1 but is May 15 for high school seniors entering an accredited program.  http://societyofwomenengineers.swe.org

Ron Brown: The award: leadership, community service, all fields.  The deadline is usually in January. This is one of the most prestigious scholarships and it's very, very competitive. http://www.RonBrown.org

Jackie Robinson Foundation: The award is $6,000 per year. Number of winners: about 100.  It's renewable. Academic merit, leadership, community service, all fields. Deadline is usually in April. http://www.JackieRobinson.org

United College Fund: The UNCF is one of our major scholarship gateways.  The awards are  of varying amounts, and there are a great many under different names and requirements (Grandmet, Duracell, for example). The deadline is usually December.  http://uncf.org/

Kodak Scholarships: The award: varying amounts to $5,000. Number of awards: Varies for those studying in film/cinematography at U.S. colleges. http://motion.kodak.com/US/en/motion/Education/Discounts_And_Scholarships/index.htm

American Institute of Certified Public Accountants: For undergraduates studying accounting at a U.S. college with at least 30 credits completed. Awards up to $5,000, with about 300 winners annually. Deadline is in July. Go to website for GPA requirements and details. http://www.aicpa.org/members/div/career/mini/smas.htm

National Alliance for Excellence: Students can be seniors already in college. They must submit an application that can includes recommendations (academic, art slides), dance (tapes), photographs, and/or other materials that point to talent and achievement in all areas. Awards are for a minimum of one year, and over 100 are granted.  Applications can be submitted at any time. The selection process is ongoing.  http://www.excellence.org .


Tips on Applying for Scholarships

Scholarships – They’re Not Just About Grades!

One of the biggest myths about scholarships is that they’re won based mostly on grades.  As a result, a lot of qualified students don’t even apply for scholarships that could award them the recognition they deserve and the help they need.  High grades and test scores are significant but being a positive, well-rounded person is just as important.

1.  Fill out application on line if possible.  Otherwise, print carefully and legibly in ink.

2.  Use Spell check.

3.  Be completely honest about grades, experiences, memberships, qualifications, family finances and other information.

4.  Keep developing a “brag sheet” of all your activities.  As you participate in school, church, community or other activities update your sheet.

5.  Don’t forget to include unpaid work experience.  Jobs show initiative and that you know how to budget your time well.

6.  Don’t leave a space blank, if it does not apply to you write N/A.

7.  Talk to students who have already won the scholarships of interest and what worked for them.

8.  Carefully follow instructions.  If the scholarship asks for an essay with a word limit, do not exceed the limit.

9.  Only apply when the scholarships minimum requirements are met.

10. Proof read everything before sending it.

11. Supplement applications with personal letters of recommendation.

12. Strictly observe deadlines and even strive to submit applications early.

13. Follow up with a telephone call to make sure the organization received the application.

14. Remember to send thank you notes.

15. Know what you want and why.  You should be able to explain your goals and know what steps you will take to reach them.

Web resources:

Find your local Michigan Community Foundation: www.forgoodforever.org

Scholarship Searches:
www.supercollege.com/hotline
www.thesalliemaefund.org
www.fastweb.com

Beware of Scholarship Scams

Warning signs:

  1. States you’ve won an award you never applied for.
  2. Scholarship Organization does not provide valid contact information.
  3. Guarantees you will win an award.
  4. Requires personal financial information such as a credit card number or bank account number to “verify” or “hold” a scholarship.
  5. “For a small fee, we’ll give you a list of scholarships”.
  6. We will do all the work for you.  There is no way to avoid submitting your own work for a scholarship application.
  7. While the presentation may be free, the services aren’t.  You may be pressured to give a check or credit card number to sign up for the service.
  8. You are told that the program can adjust your income and/or assets to make you eligible for financial aid.  Such practices are often illegal.
  9. The service tells you they can only answer specific questions after you have paid for the service.

Just because the seminar is being held at a local library or school doesn’t mean it is legitimate.  You can get help from your local colleges for free!  FAFSA filing with college professionals will be available on Sunday, February 8, 2009 from 1-3pm at Western Michigan University’s Haworth College of Business.

Report Scams to:
National Fraud Information Center: www.fraud.org
Federal Trade Commission (FTC): www.ftc.gov
Better Business Bureau: www.bbb.org
United States Postal Inspection Service:
www.usps.gov/postalinspectors/fraud

 

We encourage juniors and seniors to meet with college representatives of their choice schools.  Interested students will need to sign up in the Counseling Office at least one day ahead of time in order to be excused from class to meet with these admission representatives.

Here is a great list of questions for your student to think about, whether at a college visit here on our campus, or at a college fair. 

College visit dates and times will be posted here as they are scheduled.  Please check back as this page is updated often.  Visits are also announced in the daily announcements.   Students must stop in the Counseling office at least 24 hours in advance to signup for a visit - if they miss class without signing in at the Counseling office, it may be considered an unexcused absence.

2016 College Visits:

Thur September 22 – 7:45 – University of Chicago

Tue September 27 – 7:45 – Ball State
Thu September 29 – 9:39 – Indiana University (IUPUI)

Mon October 3 – 10:36 – Kalamazoo Valley Comm College (KVCC)
Tue October 4 – 7:45 – University of Vermont
     8:42 – Kettering University
Wed October 5 – 7:45 – Hope College
      9:39 – Northern Michigan
     10:36 -- Eastern Michigan
Thur October 6 – 7:45 Michigan Tech
     8:42 – Western Michigan University
     9:39 – Indiana University

Mon October 10 – 8:42 – University of Michigan
     9:39 – Alma College
    10:36 – Lawrence Tech
Tues October 11 – 7:45 – Saginaw Valley
Wed October 12 – 9:39 - Central Michigan
     10:36 - Heidelberg University
Thur October 13 - 9:39 - Aquinas College
     10:36 - Adrian College
Fri October 14 - 9:55 - Grand Valley

Mon October 17 
- 8:42 - Calvin College
Tue October 18 - 8:42 - U of M Dearborn
     9:39 - U of M Flint
Thur October 20 - 10:36 - Albion College

Mon October 24 - 10:36
 - Davenport University
Fri October 28 - 9:25 - Michigan State

Mon October 31 - 10:36
 - Cornerstone 
Wed November 2 - 7:45 - Grace Bible College



College Information

Ask the Professor - before you start attending college classes

Want to know more about your a college's or university's program of study but aren't sure where to find the answers? Why not call a professor at the college or university you are interested in attending?
Many college professors help recruit good students and provide advising. And, since professors are the ones teaching the courses in your area of interest, they may have the most complete answers to your questions. Before you start dialing the phone, here's some tips to remember:

  • Do some research first. Visit the school web site and find out about the program to make sure first if you are even interested in attending the school. The web site will also provide you with basic information so you can ask more specific questions, and you may also find the contact information for a professor.
  • Be polite. Introduce yourself, say why you are calling (especially important if you have to leave a message).
  • Tell the professor what high school you attend (he or she may know other students from your high school that you can also ask questions).
  • Be prepared with your questions. You may want to ask about the program of study requirements, the typical class size, and what makes the university's program unique.
  • If you think you might have follow-up questions or want to schedule an appointment, be sure to ask the professor's hours. Many professors do not work 9 to 5 business hours. Many teach courses throughout the day or evening or do off-site research.
  • Keep your appointment. If you make an appointment, keep it or make sure to notify the professor if you can't keep the appointment for some reason. Don't assume that the professor is there anyway so it doesn't matter. Professors do have busy schedules, and it's just plain rude to not show up for an appointment.
  • Say thank you. Let the professor know that you appreciate the time he or she has spent to answer your questions. If you just have a phone conversation, a verbal thank you is sufficient. However, if the professor takes time to meet with you (and possibly your parents), be sure to send a written thank you via email or regular mail.

Choosing a College/University/Institution

Here is a great list of questions for your student to think about, whether at a college visit here on our campus, or at a college fair. 

College size:
Would you be comfortable in a college of more than 15,000 or less than 1000 students?
Are diversity and gender balance important to you?

Questions to ask:
How many students are at the college?
What type of student attends? (gender/race)

Geographic Location, housing and campus life:
Do you prefer to be in the city or country?
Do you want to be close to home or are you ready for a change?
What about climate, recreational options, culture, food and housing?
         
Questions to ask:
Do freshman get priority housing options?
Is there safe housing close to campus that is affordable?
Is there transportation available if I live off campus or if I am far from home?
Will I enjoy being in the city/country year round?

Method of Instruction:
Is a competitive or relaxed learning environment more attractive?  What is the best class-size for your learning style?

Questions to ask:
How large are the classes freshmen are most likely to take?
Will I be taught by a professor or teaching assistant?
Will I have access to the instructor on a regular basis if I need help?
What type of tutoring or assistance is available?

Length of Program:
How long do you want to be in school?  Programs may be 1 year, 2 year, 4 year or more.

Questions to ask:
Will I be able to get into the classes I need to graduate on time?
How many students graduate in 4, 5 and 6 years?
Will there be assistance with finding a job after I graduate?
How often are the graduates of my program placed in jobs right after graduation?  Six months later, 1 year later?

Cost:
Many college cost options are available.  Remember, cost is more than just tuition and fees; it can also include books, supplies, transportation, housing, food and additional expenses, such as laundry.

Questions to ask:
What is the expected total cost of attending the institution?
What percentage of students receive need based aid?
Are merit scholarships available?  When do you have to apply by?
Does the institution have on campus jobs available?
Compare schools and graduation and job placement rates to see if your money is going to be well spent for what you receive from your education.  Finally, visit the schools and talk to students and professors.  How they treat you and respond to your questions will give you the feel of the school.

Getting in to that College/University/Institution

Now that you have an idea of the school you’d like to attend, what can you do to increase your chances of acceptance?

1.  Know your goals and interests and be able to articulate them.

2.  If you know what type of career interests you the most, find out what kind of education and training you’ll need to work in that field.

    3.  Make sure you are academically prepared for college and that you have taken the standardized tests that may be required for admission.

      4.  Be involved in high school.  Join a club, volunteer, get a job, play a sport or participate in a play, musical, choir or band.

      5.  Give plenty of thought about asking for a recommendation:

        6.  Gather information about the school; let the college counselor know it is important to you to attend their college.

        7.  Apply to four to six schools you like.

          FAFSA

          All seniors have financial aid presentations in mid-November in their English classes.  The FAFSA will be discussed in detail at the Financial Aid Night on Monday October 10 at 6:30pm.  Links to those presentations will be posted here once those are completed. 

          FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid):

          We encourage all seniors planning on attending a two or four year college or university next year to file a FAFSA form.  Filing online is recommended and strongly encouraged.  This is the form that the federal government uses to determine your eligibility for federal aid, including grants, work-study and loans. Using the information you supply on the FAFSA, the federal processor determines your expected family contribution (EFC)—the amount of money your family can contribute to your college costs.  Your prospective college then applies a simple equation to decide how much financial aid you will need.

          To get an early estimate of your EFC, check the Financial Aid Estimation Calculator at www.finaid.com.  Your prospective college will then try to meet your needs through a financial aid package made up of funds from federal, state and private sources…as well as loans and student employment.

          What is FAFSA on the web?

          Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on the web in an internet-based version of the paper FAFSA form that the federal government uses to determine eligibility for aid, which includes grants, scholarships, work-study and loans.  The form collects financial aid and demographic data. 

          Filling out the FAFSA should be FREE… do not pay for filing out any FAFSA info ever!  When you go to the FAFSA website, be sure it is the FAFSA.ED.GOV WEBSITE.  BEWARE:  There is a private FAFSA website that charges money!! 

          How do I fill it out?

          Visit www.fafsa.ed.gov and click “before beginning a FAFSA” to get started.  If you want a paper copy to use as a guide, use the pre-application worksheet—not a paper FAFSA.  To download a copy, click “print a pre-application worksheet”.  Also, print a completed FAFSA for your records!!  Click “print” before you click “submit” at the end of your FAFSA.  Official paper forms for FAFSA are almost obsolete.  Students and parents must file online.

          What else should I know?

          When completing an electronic FAFSA, you will be required to provide your signature (and a parent’s signature if you are a dependent student).  There are three different ways to do this:

          Use your 4-digit PIN number (read more on the PIN below) issued by the U.S. Department of Education to electronically sign your FAFSA. 

          Your parents will also need their own PINs to electronically sign your FAFSA.

          Print the signature page, get the required signatures and mail the form to the address listed on your signature page. 

          This last option is the slowest method and not usually recommended…

          Wait until you receive your SAR (Student Aid Report), get the required signature(s) and return it via the U.S. Postal Service using certified mail.

          What is a PIN?

          The personal identification number (PIN) is the code that the U.S. Department of Education uses to identify you online.  A PIN allows you to (1) electronically sign your FAFSA to speed up the process, (2) check the status of your electronic FAFSA, and (3) make corrections to your personal information online. 

          *Keep your PIN private, as it allows you (or someone else!) to electronically sign federal documents and access confidential information!

          Student and parent each need a separate PIN number! 

          Students and parents who are eligible to receive a PIN can visit www.pin.ed.gov and click on “apply for a PIN” at the bottom of the page.  You can choose to receive your PIN via email or regular mail.  You will need to submit your name, date of birth and social security number.  It takes about three business days to receive your PIN electronically.

          For questions about FAFSA on the web or about your PIN, call 1-800-4-FED-AID.

          Tips for Completing the FAFSA:

          Tip 1:  The FAFSA becomes available after January 1 each year.   Download the document from the internet at www.fafsa.ed.gov.  Begin to use the practice worksheets to plan ahead.

          Tip 2:  Submit the FAFSA whether or not you think you qualify for financial aid.   Sometimes being rejected for federal aid is a prerequisite for receiving private funds.

          Tip 3:  Review all your data on the FAFSA every year.  Your eligibility can change from year to year, depending on your family’s circumstances.

          Tip 4:  Apply for aid as soon as possible…after JANUARY 1.   DO NOT MAIL THE FAFSA BEFORE JANUARY 1 of the current school year.

          Tip 5:  Contact your prospective college’s financial aid office for additional information.   Your school may require forms besides the FAFSA or may have earlier submission deadlines.  In 4-6 weeks after completing the FAFSA, you will receive a Student Air Report (SAR).

          Tip 6:  Read your Student Aid Report (SAR) carefully.   The colleges and universities to which you have applied (and those that you reported on your FAFSA form) will send you a Student Aid Report from their school.  You and your prospective college will each receive copies.  Report errors to the financial aid officer at your prospective school.

          Tip 7:  Call the Federal Processor at 1-319-337-5665 if you do not receive your SAR in 4—6 weeks.  Be ready to provide your Social Security Number and date of birth for verification.

          Tip 8:  Note your Data Release Number (DRN).   It is the four digit number on the upper right corner of your SAR.  You will need this number to apply to additional colleges or universities.

          Tip 9:  Check to see if your SAR has been selected for verification.   Look under the date for the letters EFC followed by a series of numbers.  If there is an Asterisk (*) after your EFC, your SAR has been selected.  30% of forms will be asked for “verification”… you must respond immediately!

          Tip 10:  If asked for SAR verification, submit the information requested to your prospective college’s financial aid office as soon as possible.   Your aid may be delayed or decreased if the materials are not promptly provided.

          What you need to complete your FAFSA:

          • Your social security number
          • Your drivers license number, if you have one
          • Your W-2 forms
          • Your federal income tax returns
            • If you have not yet filed your taxes, you may use last year’s tax info and you may go back and adjust the
              FAFSA form after completing the current tax year’s documents.
          • Your current bank statements and records of stocks, bonds and other investments
          • Your records of other untaxed income received, such as Social Security, Temporary Assistance to Needy
            Families (TANF), welfare or Veteran’s Benefits
          • Your business or farm records, if applicable
          • Your alien registration number, if you are not a U.S. Citizen
          • If you are a dependent student, you will also need:
            • Your parent(s) social security number(s)
            • Your parent(s) income and financial records (as listed above)

          Use income records for the calendar year prior to the academic year for which you are applying for financial aid.

          For questions once your FAFSA is filed, do not contact the Federal Government or PNHS; call the college or university of interest.

          Tutoring Services and Intervention

          Students are encouraged to seek additional academic help and support:

          • Please discuss academic concerns with the classroom teacher as soon as problems arise. Be sure to seek help from the teacher before or after school.
          • The ASSIST Program meets Monday through Thursday after school in room 2.127. Students are able to seek tutoring and additional academic support from 2:50 to 4:50. 

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