College Planning

FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid

What is it? 
The FAFSA, officially known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the form that families fill out to apply for federal grants, loans, and work-study funds for college students. Visit the FAFSA home page.

Your eligibility for federal grants (which don’t have to be repaid) and federal loans (which do) will be based on your financial need, as determined by the information you supply on your FAFSA. 

Even if the you think that your family’s income and assets put you out of the range for grants, it’s still worth completing the FAFSA. Most colleges, state scholarship agencies, and foundations use the FAFSA in deciding who gets their scholarship money, as well as how much each student will receive. 

When do high school seniors complete the FAFSA?
Beginning October 1 of the student's senior year, the FAFSA can be completed online.  Students and their parents must work together to complete this form as it requires details from parents' income tax returns.  Michigan's FAFSA deadline for the 2018-19 school year is midnight on March 1, 2018.  Complete the FAFSA as soon as possible to have the best chances to get the most aid.

College Visits

College Admissions Recruiter Visits
College admissions recruiters visit RHS frequently in the fall and throughout the winter. Visits are scheduled at different times during the day. Listen to the daily announcements for dates and times. There will be sign up sheets in the office.  Juniors and seniors are encouraged to attend. This gives students the opportunity to find out what questions to ask, find out about the college, and some recruiters even offer to waive admissions fees for the students who visit with them.

Student College Visitation Policy
College visitations can be arranged during the second semester of the junior year (one visit) and the senior year (two visits). The visits MUST be pre-arranged and the attendance office must be provided with documentation of the visitation. These days will not be counted as absences.

Applying for College

Apply to multiple colleges with one simple application. Visit Common App to learn how. Over 500 colleges nationwide accept this application with more added every day.

Every college and university's website provides undergraduate application information for the specific institution. Check into application procedures for individual institutions if you choose to apply to each one on your list separately.  

It is wise to research and apply to more than one institution.  Sometimes a student is set on where he/she wants to attend, but does not get accepted. Keep in mind there is always more than one path that leads to the goal.

College Application Fee Waivers

Students who are eligible for free/reduced lunch are also eligible for college application fee waivers through the National Association for College Admission Counseling.  The Common Application website and the College Board are also avenues through which students can pursue fee waivers.  See Ms. Spencer to request fee waivers and assistance.

NCAA Eligibility

A prospective student-athlete is someone who is looking to participate in intercollegiate athletics at an NCAA Division I or Division II institution in the future.  Seniors planning to participate in college sports need to see the counselor for the NCAA Eligibility forms and processing information at the beginning of the year. It is the responsibility of the senior athlete to make sure the Eligibility Center has the documents necessary for student certification.

Paying and Planning For College

Learn more about financial aid and ways to pay and planning for college. Be sure to visit our Scholarship page for information and applications to local and non-local scholarships.

Web Resources

Military Service Academies

U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Army West Point Headquarters, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy
The eligibility and admissions requirements for military service academies are:

  • Admission by Congressional nomination

  • Evaluation of academic achievement

  • Leadership

  • Physical aptitude


  • Single, 17-22 years of age

  • U.S. Citizen

  • Academically qualified

  • Physically and medically qualified

  • Admission forms, college entrance

Apply in spring of junior year or in the summer prior to senior year to your Congressman or to the Academy.

U.S. Coast Guard Academy
Appointment based solely on nationwide competition.


  • Single, 17-22 years of age

  • U.S. Citizen

  • Physically sound

  • Good moral character, responsible, trustworthy and emotionally stable

Apply as early as possible.

Free Application For Federal Student Aid

What is the FAFSA?
To be considered for federal financial aid at any college or university, you must complete and submit a Free Application For Federal Student Aid. Your families previous years' tax return information is necessary to complete the FAFSA (a FAFSA can be submitted using estimated information, but will require an amended application to be filed once you have the completed tax return information). The FAFSA is the form used by the U.S. Department of Education and colleges/universities to determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). That information is given in a Student Aid Report (SAR).

How does it affect me?
All students are expected to contribute towards the cost of their college education. Colleges and universities use the EFC from the SAR and your financial situation to determine how much you and your family will be expected to contribute.

Deadline for the FAFSA
While the Federal deadline for completing the FAFSA later in the year, many states, colleges and universities have filing deadlines that are much earlier—some occurring as early as February 1st. The deadline for the State of Michigan aid priority consideration is March 1st. So be sure to follow the deadlines for the college you are applying to and plan accordingly.