Win Free Textbooks for a Year!

College Avenue will be doing three random drawings this summer for $1,200 gift cards that can be used to buy textbooks.  You may enter the contest at

By registering for the contest, you will be opting in to the College Avenue distribution list and you will likely receive emails periodically about paying for college and student loan products.  If you are thinking about borrowing a loan for school, only borrow what you absolutely need and can afford to repay!  You should also apply for federal student aid and consider federal student loans before private alternative loans.  Federal student loans usually have lower interest rates and better repayment terms than private student loans.  You may review NOVA’s guide to applying for financial aid at  Please contact the Support Center if you have any questions.

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Guide to Community Resources

Our friends in the Working Students Success Network have compiled a comprehensive list of community resources for the Northern Virginia area.  Information is provided on child care, food, housing, clothing, transportation, employment, medical services, and legal counseling at  A quick 2-page resource guide is also provided here.

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Email to Contact the Financial Aid Support Center

There’s a new way to contact the Financial Aid Support Center!  Simply email and a representative will follow up with you within 48 hours.  If you prefer you may still call the Support Center at 1-855-323-3199 or live chat with an agent or upload documents at  Agents are available 24/7 every day of the year to answer your financial aid questions!

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Quick Money Management Tips

Did you miss our Money Management Workshops this spring?  If so, and if you’d still like to learn some quick tips on managing your personal finances you may view the presentation here.

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April is Financial Literacy Month!

April is National Financial Literacy Month!  Do you feel like you have your finances in order?  If you could use a little help, check out the thirty steps to financial wellness at or schedule a free financial coaching session with NOVA’s Financial Coach, Diana Yacob, who is an Accredited Financial Counselor.  You may reach Diana at

Additional money management tips and resources are available here.

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Check Out the Focus2 – Interactive Career and Education Planning System

FOCUS 2 is an online, interactive, self-guided career and education planning system that can help you:

  • Select a program/major based on your interests and aspirations
  • Discover occupations matching your personal preferences and attributes
  • Map out your career plans, present and future
  • Make informed career decisions

Create an account by self-registering for FOCUS 2 at

  • Access Code: NOVA
  • VCCS student e-mail account required to create an account
  • Status: select appropriate group from list provided
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IRS Data Retrieval on the FAFSA will Not Work for Weeks

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool that parents and students use to transfer tax information directly from the IRS to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is not currently working.  Officials at the IRS and the Department of Education expect the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to be nonfunctional for “several weeks” as they work to resolve technical issues with their systems.

When completing the 2016-2017 FAFSA or the 2017-2018 FAFSA, applicants should manually enter the requested information from their 2015 federal tax returns.  If selected for verification, students and the parents of dependent students may request a copy of their 2015 tax return transcript at and then upload it to the School Servicing Center at when they complete the verification interview.  Applicants who do not have a copy of their 2015 federal tax return may also request a copy of their 2015 tax return transcript in order to manually enter their tax data on the FAFSA when they apply.  Tax return transcripts may be downloaded from the IRS website once the tax filer’s identity is confirmed or mailed to the tax filer within 5-10 days.

Instructions for Getting a 2015 Tax Return Transcript

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Graduation Checklist

Congratulations! All your hard work and late night studying is about to pay off. Graduation is just around the corner. Understandably, it might feel overwhelming, but with a bit of planning, making the transition from school to full-time work can be smooth.

The following is a checklist with some important tasks to consider:

  • Take the last few months seriously. Yes, you may be in the homestretch but be sure to study hard. This is not the time to coast.
  • Have you applied to graduate? If not, review NOVA’s graduation website,
  • Pay a visit to NOVA’s Career Services Office. They can assist you to develop your cover letter, resume, and portfolio as well as teach you how to prepare for an interview and begin your job search.
  • Develop a list of references and letters of recommendation. As this may be your first job, ask your instructors for permission to use them as a reference or for those letters of recommendation. Potential employers will ask for this information if you are a serious candidate for the job.
  • Figure out where you are going to live after college. You need to think about if you are going to move back home with your parents on a short-term basis or if you’re going to live on your own.
  • What about transportation? If you currently have a car, you’re probably good to go. If not, you’ll need to carefully consider affordable options including public transportation, at least for the short term.
  • Will you be going to grad school? Ask yourself: what school will you be attending, how much will it cost and how will you pay for it?
  • Check your consumer credit report. No matter what your plans for living and getting around, you’ll want to check your consumer credit report at for errors and to see where your credit score stands.
  • Most importantly, start planning to repay your student loans. Six months after graduation, you’ll be expected to begin repayment on your federal student loans. For other loans, check your promissory notes and contact your lender(s). Be sure to inventory your student loans. For federal loans, visit There you will find a complete list of how much you borrowed, your interest rates and your loan servicer information. Contact your servicer(s) to update your contact information and to discuss repayment options.

Source:  ECMC Fab Gab Outreach and Financial Literacy Newsletter, Winter 2017

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Enter NOVA’s CashContest for a Chance to Win $100

Were you one of the 16 randomly selected students who won $100 grants or bookstore gift cards by participating in NOVA’s CashContest during fall 2016?  If not, consider entering the CashContest during the spring semester for a chance to win $100 while also learning more about managing your finances.  Complete contest rules are posted on NOVA’s Financial Literacy blog at The next module, “Credit and Protecting Your Money” must be completed by March 5, 2017 to be entered in the contest.

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Financial Aid Newsletter – Greenback (December 2016)

Financial Aid Newsletter – Greenback_DEC-16_FINAL

Check out the latest issue of The Financial Aid Greenback, our quarterly Financial Aid newsletter. This issue: Manage your educational borrowing, FAFSA Filing Update, Scholarship information, Essay Tips, and more. This newsletter is designed to help students and staff members stay up-to-date on the latest and greatest in the world of financial aid.

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