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College & Career Training in Alaska

23Oct

How to Eat an Elephant: Tackling Financial Aid with AKCIS

Have you been asked, “How do you eat an elephant?”  Maybe someone asked you as you were trying to accomplish something unfathomable, a huge task.  Financial Aid is like that elephant.  There is so much information on the topic including information on grants, scholarships, loans, federal work study, etc.  Junior and Senior year is when the questions really start surfacing: Where is the beginning?  What should I do first? Which websites should I use? We have the ultimate tool to help you narrow down your financial aid elephant into manageable pieces.   

The Financial Aid Sort at www.AKCIS.org uses your criteria to help you find awards that you may qualify for. This exploratory tool can be used multiple times to create customized lists based on what interests you have. You can select criteria to match your educational plans, abilities, and background.  With over 3,200 scholarships, grants, and loans, the Financial Aid Sort is a one-stop shop for finding money for postsecondary education. In addition, choosing “Alaska” as your community will give you a specified list of over 800 financial aid options covering a variety of topics that are all Alaska based. 

Available information about each opportunity listed in the Financial Aid sort includes background on the award; how much money could be awarded; what are the program of study or school/training type requirements for the award; and the description of other award requirements such as – application, recommendations, deadline for applying, how to apply, how/where to follow up on your application, and whether or not  you need an essay.  Each AKCIS financial aid entry uses the same format to list these attributes - so it is easy to find. 

After you’ve saved multiple Financial Aid Sorts – one for what you want to study, one for where you are interested in studying, and one for any sports or other activities you participate in - it is time to sort by deadline. This allows you to sort and save the list of scholarships due month by month to stay ahead of deadlines and spread out the applications. This is most helpful when you are getting ready to go into a time-intensive season like sports, theater, concerts, and testing. By dividing the applications into various months they are now in manageable chunks rather than trying to tackle all of the applications at once.  

Using the AKCIS financial aid tool lets you find the scholarships that match you and your interests – and divide those scholarships into your various interest categories. Sorting by deadline helps you manage the financial aid applications even further by providing a framework for spreading the tasks over the year rather than having a big push at the end of your senior year. So, get started, tackle that elephant in the room and get your financial aid scholarship and grant searches underway!

Access instructions, including screen shots, for the Financial Aid Sort here. You can review other AKCIS – Education tab resources in this short video.

Need help logging in to AKCIS? - contact akcis@alaska.gov or call 1-800-441-2962 option #3

About the Author

Julia Renfro

Julia Renfro

AKCIS Partnership Coordinator

 

A military BRAT turned military spouse, Julia likes traveling and meeting new people. Using Personal Learning & Career Plans (PLCPs), she works with students and families to plan futures that will help them enjoy life and their communities.

 

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