It’s Been Fun…and Hopefully Informative, follow on FB & Twitter

I am finding I don’t have the time to keep up this blog on a weekly basis and I know when I follow a blog I like a weekly update, not a monthly, or longer to wait for info. So I am going to switch to using my  Empower College & Career Facebook and Twitter 100% of the time. Where I can update instantly on a daily basis if need be. See you on the other side! (Did you get the Adele reference to her song?:)



Read These!

The Princeton Review has released it rankings of colleges where you get the most for your money. Paying attention to the aid packages that the schools give is important! Read the article here.

Scroll down past the Princeton Review and read the article on helping your anxious child make the transition from high school to college.

Funding Friday~Another Scholarship Resource

I was sent the following link for Good Call Scholarship Resource. The thing I like about this is you don’t have to input any personal information. You do have to create an account but can do so with only your email account.

Good Call allows users to filter through scholarships based on due dates, award amounts, application difficulty (filter out the page long essays!), grade level, majors, ethnicity, gender, location, and school!

I was able to find four scholarships that my daughter would qualify for here in Arizona. I try to stay away from the national scholarships and like to focus our time on local or state level scholarships. There is less competition for those.


Student Workers, How it affects your FAFSA.

Does your student work? Mine does. And she is excited to get a tax refund (most students do). Their taxes are easy, a simple, 1040 EZ form. I was unsure if my daughter could file taxes because we still claim her on ours. According to our accountant we can, she did not not make much, under 5000.00 in 2015. This will not affect her being able to file and us being able to claim her on our taxes.

But what about their FAFSA? How does it affect that? 

Any income that a student earns can go towards the Estimated Family Contribution, however, their total amount is not calculated into their EFC. The government allows dependent student workers to make up to $6,260 before income begins to impact financial aid eligibility. Students are expected to contribute 50% of any monies earned over the $6,260. So that 50% will affect their financial aid received from the FAFSA.





Senior To Do List

Now that second semester is here, time is going to fly by!!

Seniors and parents can start the FAFSA now even if you don’t have your W2’s. You won’t be able to submit it until you get your W2’s. Don’t wait, Grants and Work Study are on a first come first serve based on need.

When you are deciding what school to send your student, research, research, research. This is an investment.

Consider the costs between Public vs. Private, University vs. Community College, and In-State vs. Out-of-State.

In-state schools are less expensive than out-of state schools (annual tuition)

NAU (AZ resident) = $10,400
UCLA (non-resident) = $56,400

Community Colleges are less expensive than Universities (annual tuition)

ASU (public university) = $12,700
CGCC (public comm. college) = $2,520 ($84 per credit, based on 15 credit hours/semester)

Public schools are less expensive than private schools (annual tuition)

U of A (Basic tuition public) = $11,400
Embry-Riddle (private university) = $41,770

Example: Culinary Art Program

Scottsdale Community College AAS = $5000
 (includes fees, books, knives, everything)


Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts (private institute)
Associate’s Degree in Culinary Arts = $37,050

Gather Your Documents~FAFSA


One week left! Time to gather the documents you will need to fill out the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.  If you have not created a FAFSA ID, you can do so here. It must be done first for both the student and the parent.

These are the documents needed pulled from the FAFSA Site:

Social Security number

Parents’ Social Security numbers

Driver’s license number if you have one

Alien Registration number if you are not a U.S. citizen

Federal tax information or tax returns including IRS W-2 information, for you and for your parents. If you have everything else gathered then once these come in, it’s GO TIME! Don’t wait, grants, work study, is limited and it’s first come first serve if you qualify. 

Records of  untaxed income, such as child support received, interest income, and veterans noneducation benefits, for you, and for your parents if you are a dependent student.

Information on cash; savings and checking account balances; investments, including stocks and bonds and real estate but not including the home in which you live; and business and farm assets for you, and for your parents if you are a dependent student. Log onto those bank accounts and start printing off statements. 

You will use these records again, do not mail them in. Create a file just for FAFSA documents. It needs to be completed every year the student attends college and put it next to the file you have created for their college documents.

Vocational Training In High School

Most high schools offer some sort of Vocational Training in high school. Many schools have partnerships with outside schools where students can leave campus, like EVIT, the East Valley Institute of Technology, and graduate with a certificate in fields like CNA, Medical Assisting, Fire Science, Web Design, Aviation, and many, many more.

In my district our five high schools offer the following specialized programs: Computer Science, Engineering, Bio-Medical Sciences, and Automotive Technology. I highly encourage students to enroll in a vocational program at the high school or at EVIT, especially if they are undecided on a career and college. It’s free job training! Most of these programs would cost thousands of dollars if taken outside of high school at a local community college or vocational college. Maybe they discover that they love the field or hate it, either way it is a learning experience, a free learning experience. AND they can work in the field (if only temporary) instead of retail, busing tables, or in fast food, while going to college.

In January we start registration all over again for freshman, sophomores, and juniors. Start talking about electives that will help prepare them for a career or job opportunities.