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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

FAFSA opening day has been moved up!

The US Department of Education is changing when families can begin filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). "Traditionally", it has begin January 1 of the year the student begins fall semester. With the changes, that opening date is moved to October 1 (starting in 2017).

(see below for the full announcement.)

What does that mean?

Factually speaking, a student can fill out the FAFSA, and possibly get information on their financial aid eligibility for a college, almost 1 full year before they begin fall classes.

On the positive, financial aid packages can be created earlier, so that students can get a better idea of if they will receive financial aid at a particular school, or if they should apply for a different one (before those deadlines passes). Another possible positive may be that other financial aid forms , such as the CSS(which some private colleges require) may not be necessary. So possibly less paperwork, and less money (CSS charges a fee; FAFSA is always free, with it being the FREE Application for Federal Student Aid).

On the negative, financial aid deadlines will also be moved up, meaning things such as Illinois' MAP grant (worth up to $4700) will run out of money even sooner.

What you can/should do about it?

Plan to have a FAFSA completion service the first week of January. Whether it is on the actual holiday of New Year's, or the first Sunday, or during the week, the next round of financial aid won't begin until January 1, 2016.

Then immediately plan TWO big financial aid pushes for the following year. The first should occur near the first week of October 2016. Another alternative is to hold a FAFSA completion session on Columbus Day. Both Students and many parents should have that day off. Churches could hold their session on the holiday, or following their service on Sunday.

The second big push should continue to be either the first Sunday of the new Year, or starting in 2016, in December, when your returning college students are back as well.

See Do-Gooder's previous blog on planning a FAFSA completion session.

Here is the official announcement from the US Department of Education. They also have a PDF with FAQ's (Frquently Asked Questions) about this change.

Today, Monday, September 14, 2015, President Obama announced significant changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) process that will impact millions of students. We want to inform you—our partners in the college access, planning, and funding process—about these changes and provide you with tools and information you can use. 
Changes for the 2017–18 FAFSA®
(1)   (1) The 2016–17 FAFSA® will be the final FAFSA to launch on January 1.  Beginning with the 2017–18 application, the FAFSA will be available to students and families October 1 of the previous year. This means students who need to complete the 2017–18 FAFSA will be able to access and submit the form anytime from October 1, 2016, through June 30, 2018.
(2)   (2) In addition to changing the launch date for the application cycle, beginning with the 2017–18 FAFSA, we also will change the requirements for reporting income information. Currently, FAFSA applicants are required to provide income information from the “prior year.”  For example, 2016–17 applicants must report 2015 income information.  Beginning with the 2017–18 FAFSA, applicants will be required to provide “prior-prior” year income information. This means that the 2017–18 FAFSA will collect 2015 income information. 
The following table provides a summary of key dates as we transition to using the early FAFSA submission time frame and earlier tax information.
When a Student Is Attending College (School Year)
When a Student Can Submit a FAFSA
Which Year’s Income Information Is Required
July 1, 2015–June 30, 2016
January 1, 2015–June 30, 2016
July 1, 2016–June 30, 2017
January 1, 2016–June 30, 2017
July 1, 2017–June 30, 2018
October 1, 2016–June 30, 2018
July 1, 2018–June 30, 2019
October 1, 2017–June 30, 2019
Resources for You and Your Students
To assist you and your students in learning about these changes, the U.S. Department of Education and the White House have prepared several informational pieces (a fact sheet, FAQ, etc.). You can access some of them at now; and others will be added later today.
We will update the Financial Aid Toolkit and sites as the 2017–18 FAFSA launch approaches. Keep an eye out in spring 2016 for further resources such as talking points, suggested tweets and Facebook posts, etc.
Please know the President’s remarks which will be streamed live from Des Moines beginning at 4:40 p.m. ET at
As always, we thank you for everything you do to advance equity in access to higher education for the nation’s students.

Federal Student Aid Outreach Team
830 First Street, NE
Washington D.C. 20202


Do-Gooder Consulting is a consulting firm for churches, nonprofits, and small businesses. We provide coaching and teaching on issues relevant to the field, and aim to "help you help others." Please contact us at 872-222-8008 or to see how we can help you and possibly other partners get your students to college -- and then graduate.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

We're partnering to save you money!

JP Paulus is partnering with Global Generation Group to help save money for churches, small businesses and others.

Global Generation Group is a Trade Ally of Com-Ed and is helping them with the Small Business Energy Saving program, which helps small businesses and even churches get free light bulbs and other reduced-cost energy saving fixtures. (You can see Global Generation's entry as an official trade ally by clicking here, and typing "Global" in the search engine, or through their Trade Ally directory map)

If you would like to schedule a church, or small business, please call me at 872-222-8008 to set up an appointment or more information. See below for my introductory letter.


from Do-Gooder President, JP Paulus:

My name is JP Paulus, and I am president of DO-Gooder Consulting, which aims to serve churches, nonprofits and small businesses to "help you help others." I am now partnering with Global Generation Group, which is a trade ally with Com-Ed (the electric company). There are one of several organizations which are administering the Small Business Energy Saving program, which help small businesses, as well as churches and nonprofits, by replacing their current light bulbs and some fixtures with more energy efficient options.

Most of the work is free. There may  optional (and I like to stress  that_”optional”  portion) repairs we might be authorized to do at a subsidized cost.  We are required to put it in the assessment, but you are absolutely free to refuse any work.

This program is mostly free (and otherwise subsidized) because you have already paid for this program. Look for the line “Energy Efficiency Programs  “ on your electric bill, under “taxes & Fees”.

Here’s the process of how this program works:.
  1. I (and perhaps with a colleague) will visit your building.
  2. We will need a copy of your Com-Ed bill (just one from the past couple of months)
  3. We will go over  the bill to make sure that you qualify (such as being classified as a NON-residential property, using 0-100KW range)
  4. (We will also need a photocopy of that bill to submit with paperwork, see below)
  5. We then have a form that needs to be filled out.
  6.  We will then walk through your facility and make an assessment, noting any bulbs and fixtures we can upgrade.
  7. Our office will then process the assessment and produce a report  (usually within 1 week).
  8. I will bring that to you, and you can sign off on any upgrades you want (or reject what you do not want, such as anything where you have to pay money, or ones you haven’t planned/budgeted for ).
  9.  Once we submit the final paperwork,  you will be approved by Com-Ed to receive our services and they will have money set aside to make those changes.
  10. Once the funds come in (usually a 2-3 week wait), we will begin work, which takes a short time depending on size , complexity, and schedule . It is usually between 1 day and two weeks at the latest.

If you have anyone you could refer me to, I would greatly appreciate it. The word is that the program can run out of funds as early as October, so time is of the essence.

Thanks for your help, and I hope to help your organization VERY soon!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Spend your Fall with Do-Gooder Consulting

There's a lot going on this fall for JP Paulus and Do-Gooder Consulting, with several major events. Here's where you can find us in the next few weeks and beyond. Call or text us at 872-222-8008 or e-mail us at if you have questions or would like to meet! (Also, see the bottom of this post regarding an opportunity to help your students with financial aid!)

Business First Friday  

We used to meet at Flecks Coffee for their First Friday networking event. Unfortunately, they have closed, so we have more to Chef Sara's Cafe in South Shore. See you Friday, oct 2 at 8:30 am, located at 7261 S. Exchange. 

We have begun some great partnerships through these meetings, such as Global Generation group (see future blog post). Many members of the Chatham Business Association (see below) plan on joining us. This event is hosted by Bruce Montgomery of Technology TV, among many other things..

Urban Youth Network

The next meeting is scheduled for Saturday September 12  at  9am. The location is Park Community Church at 1001 N. Crosby. 
 Join fellow youth workers for fellowship & growth.  You can also call/text 872-222-8008 or e-mail for an update, or questions.  

Free breakfast (includes doughnuts, fruit, juice and coffee) is provided.

For more info, contact Nick Rivera at or see the Urban Youth Network Facebook page

Oakdale Covenant Church Men's Week

JP Paulus is part of the planning committee for Oakdale Covenant Church's 2015 Men's Week, and working with much of the behind the scenes work. We will update this blog as plans are finalized. JP designed this plugger, organized the teleconference, coordinated registration, co-produced a commercial and contributed in other areas.

Illinois College Access Network

The next Illinois College Access Network Meeting of 2015 be will meet  on Tuesday, November 10th, 2015. We come together in Room 8005 of the DePaul Center, 1 E. Jackson Blvd  at 8am sharp for the next meeting of the Network. 

You can also call/text 
872-222-8008 or e-mail for an update. Updates for the event are at this link and  the website at   

 Tutor Mentor Conference

We appreciate Daniel Bassill of the Tutor Mentor Institute inviting us to the May 2015 Tutor-Mentor Conference to present on "Twists on Traditional Fundraising".  The 44th conference will be in May 2016, with a smaller gathering planned in November 2015. Look for updates here on their website.

Chatham Business Association 

We'll see you at the next Chatham Business Association meeting  at 8:30am on Tuesday, October 13 at the QBG Foundation Building, Meeting Room, 806 E. 78th St. Chicago, IL 60619 .The Monthly Membership Meeting held by Chatham Business Association, Small Business Development Inc. is held to inform current members and prospective members about issues and activities going on in Chatham and the City of Chicago.  You do not need to be a member to attend, but you should register.  Breakfast is provided for a small fee. See their webpage for details on this event.  

FAFSA Completion sessions

We're also scheduling FAFSA completion sessions for the first week of January, where we help families correctly fill out the FAFSA. The first that we have planned is one at Oakdale Covenant Church, 9440 S. Vincennes after the 10:30am service on Sunday, January 3, 2016. We will utilize Oakdale Christian Academy's computer lab to allow up to 20 families to fill out their FAFSA at a time. Check our blog for details and updates.

We hope to more fully participate in events such as:

We will post details as they arrive.

We hope to see you at these and other events.  Don't forget to bring business cards, even if it is a "bootleg" business card (see our blog on it).  If you plan on coming to these events, please call/test us at 872-222-8008 or by e-mail at

We hope to see you soon!