College Planning

Keys to FAFSA Success

Who wants free money for college? Well, then the FAFSA is in your future. But make sure you know what you are signing up for!



  • Elizabeth Bentley

    Hello Rachel!nnI’ve been enjoying these videos especially the ones regarding paying for college. I was wondering if you had any good sources for scholarships? I’ve used Fastweb and I’ve applied for countless scholarships (of all shapes and sizes, not just the big ones) and I never see anything come of that. And it’s not really a good idea to simply google search for scholarships because you end up getting a lot of junk that way. I thought perhaps you had some good websites I could check out or ways i can find difference scholarships that I might have a chance of winning.nnThank you,nnElizabeth


      I am in the same boat, Elizabeth.

      • sandy

        I worked with high school students and I always refer them to this website.

        • SOONERFANinAL

          I have applied for many scholarships.

        • Elizabeth Bentley

          As have I.

    • Hannah

      I don’t know any other scholarship search engines, but I do know that the Veteran’s of Foreign Affairs (VFW) organization has an annual scholarship called the Voice of Democracy for high school students. Few people know about it, so few students actually apply. You submit the entry to your local VFW chapter and the chapter picks their winner. Then, they send up it through the district, regional office, etc. and there is a winner at each level. Usually the Women’s Auxiliary President is the person you’d need to speak with about entry submission. But I’m sure you could find information for it online if you googled it.

    • Have you checked out our Custom College Guide? It will give you exactly this kind of information and even tailor it based on what schools you are interested in!

  • KatieC

    Hi Rachel,nAs a parent, what is the best way to prepare for having FAFSA success? I’ve heard home equity and retirement savings “don’t count” in your net worth when schools evaluate how much they think you should pay. Is that true? If so, it seems like following the baby steps will set us up nicely for FAFSA success. Thanks!

  • Diane

    Rachel, I have been filling out the FAFSA for three years and have never been given free money. Actually if you count the 900.00 scholarship I received freshman year for living in the dorm, then I received one. But no way have I been offered free money. Even applying for countless scholarships via Fastweb Scholarships and others, nothing. So I don’t think you should be stating “You can go to school debt free”.

  • Cara Weiser

    My son is a senior in high school, and willing be filling out the FAFSA soon. Does the money in my bank account count against him? If so, should I try to spend some before December 31? I have some expenses I have been saving for so I wouldn’t be just randomly spending money. These are planned expenses, just not necessarily things I need in the next 6 weeks. My emergency fund would not be compromised.