Students and their families should plan early and begin to search for possible scholarship matches as soon as possible. Our strong recommendation is that families avoid using any fee-based "services" that offer to find scholarships.  In most cases these are unnecessary and in some cases these are criminal scams. There are numerous free services that provide the same information. If your family is planning to apply for financial aid, be sure to tell your college counselor as we may be able to direct you to specific opportunities for which you qualify.
This FREE application form is the first step to procuring financial aid from the federal government as well as from colleges and universities. This site provides instructions on how to complete the FAFSA, as well as a FAFSA4caster that will allow you to plan ahead for your estimated college costs during your junior year. The new FAFSA becomes available online on October 1st of your senior year. REMEMBER: you must complete the FAFSA to be eligible for financial aid and/or scholarships at every college and university in the U.S.
This site contains good, basic financial aid information. It is offered by the State of California and it provides links to financial aid sites, lenders, job opportunities and application deadlines. It also provides a link to CalGrant information, a need and merit-based grant awarded to students who attend participating colleges in California. The deadline to submit your FAFSA to be eligible for a CalGrant is March 2 of your senior year.
Sponsored by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, this page provides links to hundreds of sources of information about student aid and scholarships. This site provides a terrific glossary of financial aid terms, a complete overview of financial aid methodology, as well as useful FAQ's.
This site is the nation's largest scholarship database. If you register with FastWeb, you will have access to free scholarship searches, personalized scholarship matching, internship searches, as well as financial aid and student loan help. FastWeb will send you regular emails with scholarship updates and application deadline reminders.
Although not every college requires the Profile, many private universities require a completed application in order to be eligible for any institutional financial aid. Many of the member colleges use the information collected on the Profile to help them award nonfederal student aid funds. It is very important to determine which colleges require the Profile; a complete list of member colleges can be found on the Profile website. The new Profile usually becomes available online in October of your senior year. There is a fee to submit the CSS Profile; the College Board automatically awards fee waivers based on the information you provide on the form.