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Easy Steps to Filing Your FAFSA

by Sylvia Miller

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. If your child is applying for any financial aid to help pay for college, you or your student will fill out a FAFSA every year they attend college. This is for graduated students only, not high schoolers participating in dual enrollment. In Arizona, you can file a FAFSA for the 2020-2021 school year between October 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020. Any corrections or updates must be submitted by September 12, 2020. You can file online at fafsa.gov.

FAFSA Determines Financial Need

The purpose of the FAFSA is to evaluate a student’s ability to pay (their expected contribution) and to help a college determine how much help the student needs (unmet need). The form asks questions about income based on your last tax return. It also uses family size and number of children in college as part of the equation. The results determine whether the student is eligible for Federal and State aid and is used by colleges in part to determine eligibility for need-based scholarships.

Filing Steps

There are seven sections or steps in the FAFSA. The first section is general information regarding the student, including contact information. The second section asks for income and expense information from the student’s tax return, if applicable. step three determines if a student is required to list parental information (those under 23 years old, single, listed as a dependent typically do). The fourth section is for parent information, if required. Step five asks household size, number of students in the household attending college, and two questions regarding other governmental assistance. In step six, the student should list any college to which he or she intends to apply. (NOTE: write them all down, even ones that seem out of reach.) The last section is signatures.

Student Aid Report

See? Easy! If, after submitting your FAFSA, you find you’ve made a mistake or omitted a piece of information or school, never fear! It is easy to file a correction online once your data have been processed. If you apply online you will receive an email confirming receipt and then, once your FAFSA is processed, another with a Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR gives basic information about what your expected contribution is and whether you are eligible for federal grants (free money), loans (money you must pay back) or work study (money you can earn). After receiving the data from the FAFSA and a completed financial aid application from the student, a college will send an award letter with these federal awards listed, along with any school-based financial aid they have given, such as academic or need-based scholarships (free money, although with some strings attached usually).

For more information about student aid, go to studentaid.gov or call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243.

Sylvia Miller lives in Phoenix. She and her husband, Kevin, have the privilege of co-discipling their four children through homeschool. Sylvia works part-time and is going to school verrrrrry slowly with the goal of becoming a nurse in the next eight years. She finds joy in flowers, people-watching in airports, and phone conversations with friends.

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What Makes Grand Canyon University a Great Choice for Homeschoolers?

What Makes Grand Canyon University a Great Choice for Homeschool Students?

2019 AFHE Convention Sponsor – Guest Blog Post
by Sheila Jones, Grand Canyon University

At Grand Canyon University (GCU) we absolutely love homeschooled students! They come in with a missions background, a BIG love for the Lord, and an exceptional work ethic. We are finding homeschoolers flocking to our vibrant campus from all over the nation and we want to do all we can to nurture them. Here are a few big reasons why Grand Canyon University is the best university in the nation for homeschooled students.

COMMUNITY

We have an incredible community! One of the best things about homeschoolers and their families is how well they build community. You often find homeschoolers giving back to the community and each other, worshipping, and taking adventures. This is exactly what GCU does. If you stop any student on GCU’s campus and ask them what their favorite part of being at GCU is, they will likely say “the community.” GCU is a natural fit for homeschoolers because, despite our growing campus, we work hard to keep the community at the forefront, just like homeschooling parents do.

Would you like more information on GCU?
GCU Introduction

SPIRITUALITY

According to Barna Research, roughly 70% of high school students who enter college as Christians will leave with without their faith and we strive hard to fight those odds. GCU has life leaders on every floor of every dorm who lead bible studies, Chapel on Mondays where over 7,000 students voluntarily come to listen to God’s word, and The Gathering on Tuesday evenings where students lead worship together. We have mission opportunities both in the local neighborhood and overseas. It is cool to love the Lord on our campus at GCU!

Would you like more information on our Spiritual Life? 
GCU Spiritual Life

DUAL ENROLLMENT

Our Dual Enrollment is top notch! Dual Enrollment helps homeschoolers get a jump on college and save money. Over 70% of our students graduate in less than four years. GCU understands most homeschooling parents operate off one income, so we have worked hard to make our dual classes extremely affordable or even free for local homeschooled students who attend on our campus. Our dual students save money on the front end of their college career and this helps students reduce their debt load on the back end when they graduate and head out into the workforce.

Would you like more information on our Dual Enrollment?
GCU Dual Enrollment

 

For more details on this homeschool-friendly university …
CONTACT Sheila Jones, Sheila.jones@gcu.edu
FACEBOOK: Ask to join our GCU Homeschool Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/gcuhomeschool/

Sheila Jones, Grand Canyon University

Sheila Jones currently serves as program manager for Strategic Educational Alliances, working closely with homeschool groups within GCU’s Alliance Program for Homeschool Achievement (ALPHA) program. Sheila spent her previous years in admissions at GCU and supplementing education by running and owning a private tutoring company servicing the state of Arizona. Sheila earned her undergraduate degree at Northern Arizona University and completed her Master’s degree in Business Leadership and Grand Canyon University. Sheila’s hope is to explore and learn more about how she can glorify the Lord through her opportunities as a servant leader. She adores working and advocating for homeschool groups and hopes to have a hand in furthering their opportunities for growth through GCU.

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Homeschool Graduation: Is a Finance Class Required?

by Allison Gentala, AFHE Board Member, Director of Government Affairs

Over the years, Arizona lawmakers have sought ways to ensure that high school graduates are well prepared to face the world that awaits them. In order to accomplish this, bills have been passed adding tests or classes to the graduation requirements of Arizona high school students.

In 2015, HB 2064 was passed requiring all public school students to pass a civics test in order to graduate from high school starting in 2017.

In 2019, SB 1184 is before the legislature and would add the requirement of a finance class to ensure that students know how to balance a checkbook, make a budget, and understand the consequences of debt.

While both of these new graduation requirements are wonderful for preparing students to launch well into adult life—and we would encourage you to equip your students with this knowledge—neither are required of homeschoolers.

Homeschooling is not regulated by the Board of Education

Privately funded education is not subject to oversight by the Board of Education. Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) §15-203, in listing the powers and duties of the Board of Education, says that “the state board of education shall exercise general supervision over and regulate the conduct of the public school system and adopt any rules and policies it deems necessary to accomplish this purpose.” No power is given to the Board of Education to supervise or regulate homeschool.

Homeschooling has its own legal definition found in ARS  §15-802, which states homeschool is “a nonpublic school conducted primarily by the parent, guardian, or other person who has custody of the child, or nonpublic instruction provided in the child’s home.”

Graduation requirements for homeschoolers

The parent sets the graduation requirements for their homeschooled student, creates the high school transcript, and issues the diploma. If a student is college bound, it is helpful to research college entrance requirements for a school your child is likely to attend and plan their high school courses accordingly.

The AFHE Legislative Team is actively watching legislation that may impact Arizona homeschool freedom. We hope updates like this are beneficial to our community.

Learn more about Arizona homeschool law

Do you have questions about homeschooling in Arizona and the law? Check out AFHE’s AZ Law page.

We invite you to send in your questions to homeschool@afhe.org and we may use some of them for future blog posts.

You can support the legislative work AFHE does on behalf of Arizona homeschoolers through a one-time or recurring tax-deductible donation. DONATE HERE