Tips and Strategies for a Successful Scholarship Search
(adapted from FAME webinar)

  1. Start early (even before high school!) - use the websites below to find scholarships that are available.
  2. Make a spreadsheet to keep track - create a spreadsheet with the following categories (in order): deadline, scholarship name, amount, specific qualifications, and requirements. This helps to have all information in one place so you can keep track of deadlines. Also, it is a convenient way to see if the requirements are similar to one another - maybe one essay could count for multiple scholarships.
  3. Make Time!
  4. No amount is too small - Free money is good money!
  5. Get your essays proofread.
  6. File your FAFSA early (as soon after January 1 as possible) - some scholarships require a copy of your FAFSA information.
  7. **If you receive an early scholarship award, mention it on your college application! If you're earning more money on your own, you will cost them less money.**

Financial Aid

It's almost time to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The 2016-2017 FAFSA will become available on January 1, 2016 at FAFSA.gov.
Filing the FAFSA is easier than ever - most people can fill out the FAFSA in 30 minutes or less, especially if you are prepared and know where to get help.
Get ready by getting your FSA ID now
The FSA ID is the user name and password students will use to access all Federal Student Aid websites, including FAFSA.gov.
All students need an FSA ID. Creating an FSA ID takes about 10 minutes so we recommend getting an FSA ID ahead of time. One parent of a dependent student will also need to create an FSA ID to sign the FAFSA.
For more information on creating an FSA ID, watch FAME's Creating an FSA ID video.
Go to fsaid.ed.gov to create an FSA ID. Use FAME's FSA ID Information Tracking Sheet to keep track of your FSA ID information.

Have questions? FAME offers three ways to get help with the FAFSA:

1. Contact a FAME expert:

2. Attend an In-Person FAFSA Help Session:

  • FAME's In-Person FAFSA Help sessions will be held statewide on Wednesday, January 13; Thursday, January 21; and Saturday, January 23.
  • Visit the FAME website for a list of locations, dates, and times.

3. Use FAME's Online Help:

FAME will also be sharing reminders and FAFSA completion tips via social media:
facebook
twiter

Financial Aid Websites:

fastweb.com

mesfoundation.com

famemaine.com

wiredscholar.com

studentaid.ed.gov

fafsa.ed.gov

Other Financial Aid Tools

FAFSA4caster - Provide some basic information and they will estimate your eligibility for federal student aid. Your estimate will be shown in the "College Cost Worksheet" where you can also provide estimated amounts of other student aid and savings that can go towards your college education.

FAFSA 4caster

Smart Scholar - Guide to Student Loan Resources
A comprehensive list of informational websites that give you the most in-depth information on taking and repaying student loans to help finance your college education.

Smart Scholar