The PA Department of Education is excited to announce a new statewide PA FAFSA helpline - 313 PA FAFSA (313-723-2372) - available for free to all aspiring PA postsecondary learners, their families, and practitioners to help complete the 2024/2025 FAFSA. With a text to 313 PA FAFSA, Commonwealth students and families will get connected to a live expert at uAspire, a national nonprofit that specializes in student financial aid advising.


    Starting today, PA students, parents, and practitioners supporting them can text 313- PA FAFSA (313-723-2372) any time to get connected to a FAFSA expert, ask questions, or set up personal advising sessions for free - as many times as needed to complete their application. IF texting late night or over the weekend, PA residents will get responses within 24 business hours to help them complete their FAFSA.


    This free, text-enabled 313 PA FAFSA helpline is available for PA students and their contributors all summer long. Please promote the helpline with your PA students and practitioner networks to take advantage of this on-call expert support for PA students’ FAFSA completion. The helpline is available in Spanish. A flyer is attached for posting and sharing with your PA postsecondary students and practitioner networks.


    In addition, PA postsecondary practitioners are being offered free FAFSA and Financial Aid trainings to advance their professional development on all aspects of FAFSA completion, including corrections and verification, as well as financial aid offer review. See details and registration:  





    Description and Registration Link

    FAFSA Completion Part 1 


    10:00 AM EST 

    Part 1: Whether you have decades of experience with the FAFSA or you are just starting out, this is a great look under the hood of the most frequently used financial aid form. This training will walk you through the online form, give you opportunities to practice with complex scenarios, and highlight the potential pitfalls all practitioners and students should be aware of. 



    FAFSA Completion Part 2


    10:00 AM EST 

    Part 2: Whether you have decades of experience with the FAFSA or you are just starting out, this is a great look under the hood of the most frequently used financial aid form. This training will walk you through the online form, give you opportunities to practice with complex scenarios, and highlight the potential pitfalls all practitioners and students should be aware of. 



    FAFSA Follow-up & Verification 


    10:00 AM EST 

    This training will address common challenges and best practices of FAFSA follow-up, including the importance of reviewing the FAFSA Submission Summary (previously called the Student Aid Report). We will also discuss federal verification requirements and strategies for helping students navigate the verification process. 



    Financial Aid Offer Review


    10:00 AM EST 

    This training will show you the power of analyzing aid offers and give you the tools, knowledge, and language to support students with this critical step in the financial aid process. We will begin by reviewing key aid offer terminology, examples, and practices. We will then introduce uAspire's College Cost Calculator and walk through a case study to show how to use this tool and explain the results to students. 





    PDE is hopeful that this expert assistance from uAspire along with the tireless commitment PHEAA and our PA FAFSA Go! colleagues will close the completion gap and help more PA students get on an affordable path to their postsecondary dreams this fall.


    Upcoming Financial Aid Webinars



    Virtual FAFSA one on one assistance

    FAFSA Assistance

    In addition to the 26 credits and Senior Project required by Rockwood Area School District, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has enacted new requirements for graduation. These requirements provide 5 distinct pathways to meet graduation requirements. Students must successfully meet the requirements of ONE of the five pathways.


    Graduation Pathways


    Attention Seniors and Parent/Guardians of Seniors-FAFSA Completion Night will be held Thursday January 25th 2024 at 6pm in Mrs. Walker's room (right inside high school main entrance).  Our PHEAA representative will be here to help interested students/parents complete the FAFSA.  The FAFSA has many changes to it this year.  FSA ID's must be created prior to Jan 24th.  Information will be sent home with the seniors the week of Jan 15th. If you plan on attending, please email Mrs. Opfar popfar@rockwoodschools.org.



    • Use the following resources to help determine which parent(s) needs to contribute information to the student’s FAFSA:



    • Students need to create their FSA ID 4 days in advance of the workshop.  Any contributor of information to the FAFSA such as a parent(s) also need to create an FSA ID  4 days in advance of the workshop.  You can direct them to studentaid.gov/fsa-id to create an FSA ID.  If a parent doesn’t have a Social Security number, they will be able to create an FSA ID on studentaid.gov/fsa-id when the 2024-25 FAFSA becomes available. Parent(s) that have an FSA ID that they previously used, should log into studentaid.gov/fsa-id  as they may need to update their password.


    Upcoming PHEAA Webinars 

    Borrowing for education – which loan is right for me?  Thursday, January 11th, at 6:30 pm AND Thursday, January 25th, at Noon

    You’ve found the schools you’d like to apply to and after filing the FAFSA, State Grant Form, Scholarships and researching higher education costs and calculating the funding gap, you see that education loans are a necessity, but where do you go from here?  What loan programs are available?  What are the advantages and disadvantage of the various types?  Join Suzanne Sparrow and Daniel Wray of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance agency (PHEAA) for a 1-hour webinar to review the different borrowing options and examine the details associated with each option.  Suzanne and Dan will answer your questions as you sort out the information and make decisions that are right for you and your family.


    Deep dive into credit related to education funding.  Tuesday, January 9th, at Noon AND Tuesday, January 23rd, at 6:30 pm

    For most families, borrowing for education is part of the equation and can be confusing as families look for the best options to fit their needs.  Join Dan Wray and Suzanne Sparrow of Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) for a 1-hour webinar to increase your financial literacy and knowledge on the process of credit, how to maintain or improve ratings and comparison points to help make informed and affordable education borrowing decisions.



    Or copy-paste:



    Guidance Office News

    FAFSA Completion Night-Our PHEAA representative will be at the school on Thursday, January 25th 2024 for any families who would like assistance in completing the FAFSA .  I will be speaking to senior classes several weeks prior, seeing all students and parents must have their FSA ID set up prior to completing the FAFSA. Information on how to create a FSA ID and the documents you need to complete the FAFSA will also be discussed.

    Financial Aid 101

    PHEAA will be presenting a Financial Aid 101 Webinar on Wednesday, December 13th, from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Please share the information below with your students and families.

    Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) Access Partners, Amy Sawdey and Amy Sloan, will present information on the financial aid application process, what types of aid are available for students, and strategies to start thinking about affordability before getting ready to apply for postsecondary school admission. Time will be built into the presentation to allow you to ask any questions you may have regarding the financial aid process.


    Registration Link: https://pheaa-events500.webex.com/pheaa-events500/onstage/g.php?MTID=e8e8ceae32a90fa5b0773394e2facb755


    Below are upcoming Webinars through PHEAA

    Understanding the Offer Letter and Balances 

    Tuesday, November 14th at Noon;  Thursday, November 30th, at 6:30PM

    Thursday, December 14th, at Noon;  Tuesday, December 19th, at 6:30PM

    The Offer letter, or Financing Plan, that you receive to provide an idea of the cost associated with attending post secondary education can be confusing as each school formats their information differently.  PHEAA, represented by Linda Pacewicz and Daniel Wray of PA Forward, will assist you in this one-hour webinar, in understanding and navigating the types of Aid that are listed, what you are being offered, and identifying the balances and next steps needed so you can make knowledgeable and affordable decisions.  Q&A interaction is encouraged!


    Covering the Gap: Pieces of the puzzle to help pay your education bill

    Thursday, November 16, at 6:30PM;   Tuesday, November 28th, at Noon

    Understanding education balances can be confusing and whether you’re trying to address the costs or beginning to plan for higher education, this review is for you.  Join PHEAA representatives Linda Pacewicz and Daniel Wray for a one-hour webinar that will emphasize best practices (such as seeking grants and scholarships first), remind families about additional resources (such as payment plans), and review private/alternative loans as a last resort in the process of Covering the Gap and keeping balances affordable.  The discussion will also include the basics of credit, what factors impact a credit score, how can a credit score be improved and the effects on your borrowing capability.


    Financial Aid and Planning Open Q&A with PHEAA

    Tuesday, December 12, at 6:30PM;   Thursday, December 21, at Noon

    Articles related to funding a higher education are in the news almost every day and it can lead even the most knowledgeable of us into information overload.  Have you ever wanted to simply ask a few specific questions, yet couldn’t find anyone to ask?  Maybe you have questions about planning for college, finding the right school, applying for scholarships and for federal and state aid, understanding offer letters, competing loan applications, comparing federal loans to private loans, repaying/refinancing loans after graduation – etc.  Join Linda Pacewicz and Daniel Wray of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) for a wide open one-hour Q&A session.  Hope to see you there!


    Registration link to share:


    Click here to register

    PHEAA will be conducting the following webinars.  The link to register is provided.

    Searching for Scholarships and Affording the Balance:  9/12 Tuesday at Noon & 9/28 Thursday at 6:30pm  There are many ways to pay for education, and one important step is to search and apply for Scholarships. More free money equals less borrowing. This presentation will review the types of options available, along with tips on applying. It will also offer samples of fun scholarship options to get you started. We’ll then review what to do about the balances that might be left over in order to make affordable higher education decisions. Join Linda Pacewicz and Daniel Wray from Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) for an hour of detailed information on this topic.


    Financial Aid Timeline – know what to do when:  9/14 Thursday at Noon & 9/26 Tuesday at 6:30pm  Follow Linda Pacewicz and Dan Wray of Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) as they guide you along the exciting (and sometimes bumpy) road to an affordable higher education. The journey will begin before high school and end in the land of education loan repayment – or maybe even education loan forgiveness. One thing is for certain: it’s never too early to start preparing for a successful higher education experience. This 1 hour presentation will provide the starting points and web resources- for effective research before, during and after your student makes postsecondary decisions. Know what to expect and to plan for it is the key. Failing to plan, is planning to fail!


    PA 529 and PHEAA Discuss Options to Cover the Gap  9/14 Thursday 6:30pm  Please join Linda Pacewicz and Dan Wray of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) and special guest Ryan Buxton of the Pennsylvania Treasury (PA529.com) for this extremely informative webinar. Learn how to plan for financial success as you seek a postsecondary education, with an extra emphasis on saving via a 529 plan. This webinar also briefly covers best practices (such as seeking grants and scholarships first), the primary methods of keeping school related debt to a minimum, and additional resources (such as school-based tuition payment plans). The webinar discusses private/ alternative loans as a last resort. Lots of info here. Don’t miss it!


    Register Here   or copy/paste:  https://www.pheaa.org/virtual


    Attention Parents Of Seniors-Our financial aid representative from PHEAA will be at the school (Mrs. Walker's room, directly  across from the high school main entrance) on Thursday, Sept 14th at 6:00pm to give a presentation on financial aid, preparing to complete the FAFSA, scholarships and grants. If you plan on attending,please email Mrs. Opfar so she knows how many informational packets to make.  If you can not make but would like an informational packet, please let her know. popfar@rockwoodschools.org   

    FAFSA Webinars- FAFSA Webinar

    Conemaugh Health System Open House- Saturday March 11th, 2023-For those students who are interested in the health field. Open House

    Military Service Academy Nights- Students who are interested in applying for any of the military academies, click on the following link for more information.All Military Service Academy

    Career in Coal Mining-Attention Juniors and Seniors who are interested in a career in the coal mining industry, please stop in the guidance office for more information.

    Attention Seniors- Scholarships are starting to roll in. Scholarships can be found on our website (look to the column on the left and in the guidance office in a folder on the counter). I encourage you to also use some of the general scholarship websites listed on the scholarship page.  I just uploaded a great article regarding scholarship displacement on the scholarship page. If you have any questions, please let me know.

    Conemaugh Career Day- Students who are interested in a career in the health field can stop in the guidance office and pick up an application for the Conemaugh Career Day which will be held at Conemaugh Memorial on Tuesday, April 25th 2023.  Criteria for this event is the student must be in 11th or 12th grade and be at least 16, have an interest in pursuing a career in the health field, has a GPA of 3.0 or higher.  This event is first come first serve, although the deadline for applications isn't until April 19th, 2023 I highly encourage sending the application/required documents in earlier.  Mrs. Opfar can scan and email the application and documents for submission.

    SOS Program- The Signs of Suicide program will be implemented in the 9th Grade Health classes. Please click the following link- SOS program, or visit our district's Facebook page to find out more information. Letters are also being sent home by the 9th-grade students. If you have any questions, please contact Mrs. Opfar in the Guidance office.  Students in Mr. Enos's Health class will receive the SOS program on Dec. 5th, 6th and 7th.  Students in Ms. Glessner's Health class will receive the SOS program on Dec. 13th, 14th and 15th.  If you do not want your child to sit in the program, please email Mrs. Opfar.  This is more of a lecture style program.

    ASVABs The ASVABs will be given at school on Thursday November 10th.  All 10th graders will take the test (scores can not be used for military purposes). Juniors and seniors who are interested in the military can sign up to take the test as well.

    The College Fair will be held at the Somerset County Technology Center on Thursday November 3rd.  Interested students need to sign up in the guidance office and return a permission slip.

    FAFSA Completion Night- Our PHEAA representative will be here on Thursday, Nov 3rd at 6:00pm in Room 117 to assist any parents/students in completing the FAFSA.  Please email Mrs. Opfar popfar@rockwoodschools.org or Shanda Pletcher sjplectcher@rockwoodschools.org if you plan on attending.

    Financial Aid Presentation- Our PHEAA representative will be at the school on Wednesday September 21, 2022 at 6pm, to meet with interested senior parents to go over financial aid, grants, scholarships, etc. If you plan on attending please contact the guidance office or email Mrs. Opfar popfar@rockwoodschools.org.  If you are unable to attend, our representative is holding a virtual presentation on September 28th, 2022 at 6pm. Register


    PSATs and SATs will be given at school on Wednesday October 12th.  All students enrolled in CP English 10 will take the PSAT, all students enrolled in CP English 11 will take the SAT. Other interested 10th, 11th and 12th graders can sign up in the guidance office by Sept 14th.  10th and 11th graders take the tests free of charge. 12th graders would need to pay the testing fee of $55.00.  



     7 Things to do on a College Visit:
    How to stand out from the crowd when applying to college: http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/education/story/5C9402DB7A29C6F48625770E0063901F?OpenDocument


    SAT Article- How to Prepare!
    Please feel free to stop in the Guidance Office to get started on your College Career!!! We have applications and information for any school requested!