Ready for College? So Much To Do, So Little Time!

Welcome back, it’s the beginning of a great new school year and I hope you got your rest, because we have work to do!

By now, you have already started the new school year off with a bang…shopping tax-free weekend for new school clothes and supplies–check. The first days of school was great, getting to renew relationships and see your friends after the summer break – check.  Now you are back in the groove and ready for a successful year of accomplishment–right?

The old adage that you start getting ready to apply for college and financial aid in the middle of your senior year is officially outdated, passé, kaput, in other words…old news. Beginning October 1, 2016 (yes, just a few short weeks from now), you can begin applying for Federal Government financial aid funds. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) program has an entirely new timetable.

For those planning to attend college beginning as early as July 2017, roll up your sleeves and get to work. The rules the Feds have in place are reasonable. They realize that you cannot have your 2016 taxes completed as early as the beginning of the application period so they have rewritten the rules allowing applicants to use 2015 tax year information when applying for financial aid for the 2017-2018 school year, this is very good news. Here is a summary of key dates related to FAFSA grant monies:

If you plan to attend college from: Submit the FAFSA Application dated You can submit the FAFSA form during this time period Use income and tax information from this tax year
July 1, 2017 –

June 30, 2018

2017-2018 October 1, 2016 –

June 30, 2018

July 1, 2018 –

June 30, 2019

2018-2019 October 1, 2017 –

June 30, 2019


Need a Money Mentor to help navigate the financial aid system, check out

In addition to filing for Federal financial aid, you have a few more due dates to plan for and consider; let me spur your memory.

  1. We discussed the FAFSA, but do not forget the Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA). Apply for one or the other, but do not miss your chance to receive financial aid from the US government. You deserve your shot at the American dream and the financial assistance to make your dreams reality.
  2. If you have already taken the SAT® or ACT and you are happy with your scores, you are in great shape. If not, schedule your time to retake those exams now. The in school exams for Dallas ISD will be in the spring of 2017. For more information on entrance test dates and fees, click here .
  3. Last, but not least, one of the most important decisions you will make is where you will attend college. Narrow your list of options and begin working on your college applications. If you need help thinking through how to position your achievements and highlight your best characteristics, ask for help. Your parents may be a good resource, but if not go to your Education is Freedom Advisor who is at your campus every day to help you. You have everything to gain.

There are resources, services and tips all around to help you get through this busy period, so do not let your “To Do” list scare you. Get a simple calendar to hang on your wall as an ever-present reminder; mark out key dates and set aside time to work toward the accomplishment your goals.

This really is the beginning of the rest of your life, invest the time now to ensure your own success!



Big Dollars Count, Small Dollars Matter!

Ever wonder why talented students with great financial aid packages don’t finish college? Income inequality is likely a factor. Frequently costs, not just the cost of tuition, but the finances required for books, materials, transportation to and from school and housing are a big factor.

According to Morgan State University’s administrator over student retention efforts, Tiffany Mfume, many students who stopped their college degree program were very close to meeting their financial obligations. In fact, in Mfume’s research, 10 percent of students that put their academic careers on hold until they were able to pay owed less than $1,000. Though income and earnings have stalled for many, the cost of education has continued to escalate. If a $1,000 debt could end a college career for one in ten at Morgan State University, imagine what a financial obligation of much larger sums would do to many others.

A few progressive schools have created programs specifically to address this issue. They identify highly qualified low and middle-income students, using fundraising contributions and other sources of financial aid the goal is to close the financial gap and assure that students begin their college educations and end with a degree in hand. In fact, at Morgan State, a $5 million campaign was launched and the college’s president put his own money were his heart was and pledged $100,000 toward the effort. Bravo to all the visionary schools and administrators who have taken action to remedy this issue at least short term, but let us not forget, wholesale reform is needed to remedy the income inequality issue as it relates to education.

Poised for action and always ready to jump in with a helping hand, Education is Freedom (EIF) is not waiting around for the entire US economic system rewrite to repair the income inequality dilemma. Instead we are taking action to do what we can, while we can and we want you to join us for the inaugural fundraiser aimed at providing 100 scholarships to Dallas’ best and brightest students from 10 Dallas ISD schools. The program entitled, An Evening with the Stars, 2016 Inaugural Scholarship Event will directly support EIF graduating seniors with a personalized scholarship that will cover college costs that are not traditionally covered by financial aid. Join EIF and Highland Capital, the title sponsor, Saturday, May 21st, 5-7pm at the Dallas Zoo to participate. Not able to attend? There are many ways to assist, click here for more information on how you can contribute; no gift is too small to help.

In closing, no one is more aware of the monumental task before the country in finding a remedy to income inequality and its impact on the educational achievement gap than we are. We applaud Morgan State University and other progressive schools that have developed programs to address this pressing issue. But, we also know that to support our vision for the children of Dallas ISD and to live our mission to create well-educated, career ready young adults, we must act now.  The need is great, the time is now, can we count on your support ?