The student news site of Hawthorne High School.

The Clarion

The student news site of Hawthorne High School.

The Clarion

The student news site of Hawthorne High School.

The Clarion


Senior Financial Aid and Scholarships

Game of EPL5 & LUMIX G20/F1.7
Graduation is Coming…and so is College…

The start of the new year means that for seniors, there are only a few more months left to figure out post-high school plans. Many students have received or have began to receive their college acceptance decisions, so a big concern now becomes finances. FAFSA recently released its soft launch over winter break, and senior scholarship applications have become available to students. Here is some information on financial aid and how seniors can apply for FAFSA and senior scholarships. 

What is FAFSA? FAFSA is a free application for federal student aid, and can provide eligible students with federal grants, work-study funds, and loans to assist with their college expenses. Students and their families should prepare to apply as early as possible in order to have a better chance of receiving more money. In order to apply, the student must create an account at to obtain a FAFSA ID. One parent or legal guardian must also create an account as a “contributor.” Contributor IDs allow parents’ federal tax information to be transferred to the FAFSA. Accounts may take a few days to verify, but once created, the student will be able to fill out the FAFSA form when it is available. 

For current seniors, the FAFSA form has become available as of the end of December as part of a soft launch. The form will be available for brief periods of time, so if you aren’t able to access it, it’s best to try again later while site maintenance and technical updates are occurring. 

Several changes were made to the 2024-25 FAFSA as opposed to previous years, to expand eligibility for student aid and offer an easier user experience. For starters, anyone who offers information on a student’s FAFSA form is considered a contributor, as long as they are a legal guardian, and the student (along with their contributors) must provide consent and approval in order for the IRS to transfer federal tax information to the FAFSA form.

You also won’t be able to access the FAFSA form without having first created an ID, which contributors must also create. The formula for determining financial aid eligibility has been adjusted, and once schools receive your student aid index (SAI), they can calculate what kind of aid you may be eligible for. Finally, the eligibility for aid, such as Federal Pell Grants, has expanded, and other information besides for your SAI can help determine if you qualify for a grant. 

Once the FAFSA form is completed, you will receive an email confirmation along with estimates related to your potential financial aid eligibility and SAI. A confirmation email will also be sent out once your FAFSA information has been sent to the selected school and when your FAFSA Submission Summary becomes available, which will provide your official eligibility status. 


How to apply for senior scholarships: For current seniors at HHS, the senior scholarship application has become available, and students should have joined the Local Scholarship Application Google classroom through an email invite.

The Senior Awards Program allows local organizations to receive and review student applications to provide them with diverse scholarship opportunities ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. The application is due by Friday, February 2 at 3:00pm with no exceptions.

It can be downloaded from Google classroom as a fillable PDF that students can work directly off of, and requires student information, family background, college expenses, and the student’s college essay. For out of district students, a separate application is available to download.

To complete the application, students must fill out the PDF to be submitted on Google classroom, as well as a Release of Records form to be filled out by parents/guardians. The student’s resume is also required, and can be downloaded off of Naviance. Students must then obtain a letter of recommendation from both a teacher and someone outside of the classroom. Applications should be submitted on Google classroom, where all forms and step-by-step directions for applying can be found. 

Figuring out how to pay for a college education can be daunting, but here at HHS there are opportunities and plenty of support for students, in addition to the federal support they can receive. 

About the Contributor
Kerianne O'Gara, Chief Editor
Hi, my name is Kerianne O'Gara, I'm a senior here at HHS. This is my third year writing for the Clarion and I'm excited to be back! I love to read and write and my other interests include watching horror movies, listening to music, hanging out with friends, and going to the beach. I am also the captain of the tennis team, which I have been a part of for three years. I look forward to adding plenty of articles to the Clarion this year!