Understand all of your options when it comes to paying for college. This collection of resources, many from the National Association of College Admissions Counselors, can help you get the latest information about college costs, scholarships, financial aid applications, education loans, and college financing.
A Parent’s Guide to Financial Aid
Your child is worried about getting into college—but you’re probably more concerned about paying for it. Here’s the good news: there is plenty of financial assistance for families paying for college. You just need to know how to get it.
The prospect of applying for financial aid can seem intimidating—especially the first time. But the financial aid process is not as difficult as you think. All it takes is time, a little organization—and a lot of paperwork/online forms. Read more.
Focus on Financial Aid: An Introduction
The unsettling news is that a year at most colleges, especially if living costs are included, starts at about $8,000 and can exceed $60,000. The good news is that if you need financial aid to help meet college costs, you are likely to receive it. So, this advice is worth remembering: cost should never be a deterrent in choosing the colleges to which you will apply. Read more.
Focus on Financial Aid: The Basics
If you wince when you look at a college’s tuition and fees, this article is for you. Financial aid can help students pay for their college education through grants, loans, and jobs. But to get financial aid, you need to apply for it.
“The first thing to keep in mind is that the [financial aid] process is a lot easier than you imagine,” says Bill Ryan, acting director, Student Aid Awareness, Student Financial Assistance (part of the U.S. Department of Education).
Don’t believe it? Then read on to get the basics of financial aid.
Focus on Financial Aid: How to Apply
To be considered for financial aid, you are required to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is the only application that makes you a candidate for all federal student aid, including:
- The Federal Pell Grant
- The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
- The Federal Perkins Loan
- Federal Family Education Loans or Federal Direct Loans
- Federal Work-Study employment (FWS).
The Scoop on Scholarships
Merit scholarships can be helpful in financing your college education. In contrast to need-based grants or scholarships, merit scholarships are awarded to students based on their grades, accomplishments or other personal characteristics rather than financial need.
Few students receive merit scholarships out of the blue. Maximizing your chances of receiving a scholarship requires research to find the scholarships and work to complete the applications. Read more.
Financial Aid Links
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (known as the FAFSA) is a form that can be prepared annually by current and prospective college students (undergraduate and graduate) in the United States to determine their eligibility for student financial aid (including the Pell Grant, Federal student loans and Federal Work-Study).
The CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE (often written as CSS PROFILE), short for the College Scholarship Service Profile, is an application distributed by the College Board in the United States allowing college students to apply for financial aid. It is primarily designed to give private member institutions of the College Board a closer look into the finances of a student and family. It is much more detailed than the FAFSA.
Cash for College. The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), 1129 20th Street, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC.
Do It-Afford It. The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, 1129 20th Street, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036. Available online, at www.nasfaa.org (click on “Parents and Students”).
Pay for College. A College Scholarship Service publication available in your guidance office. Or write College Scholarship Service, The College Board, 45 Columbus Ave., New York, New York 10023.
Need a Lift? The American Legion, National Emblem Sales, P.O. Box 1050, Indianapolis, IN 46206. $3.95 prepaid.
The Student Guide: Five Federal Financial Aid Programs. Distributed through college financial aid offices or high school guidance offices, or single copies are available by writing to Student Financial Aid Programs, P.O. Box 84, Washington, DC 20202. Or call 800/4-FEDAID.