College Counseling:
Financial Aid Information

Below is some brief information about applying for need-based and merit based financial aid. Your best source of information regarding particulars in the application process is on the individual college websites at each student’s school(s) of interest. Under financial aid there will be a listing of deadlines, forms required, etc. Every school has a calculator to estimate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and an approximation of the aid you will receive.

FAFSA

Almost every college and university requires the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for families to apply for need-based financial aid. (This also includes any educational loans the families may want to apply for.) Many schools that offer merit or talent based awards also require that you submit the FAFSA in order to be given an award.

The FAFSA can be filed on line at www.fafsa.gov --- and here is a site provided by the federal government that covers a lot of information and gives some tips that may be helpful to you in the process: http://studentaid.ed.gov/resources 

The earliest you can file the FAFSA for entry into school in the Fall of 2017 is October 1, 2016. Please note, students and families of the class of 2017 will use the 2016 federal tax returns in their process.  

CSS/Financial Aid Profile

The CSS profile is required by about 300 selective colleges to complete the financial aid process.  The CSS profile can be filed on-line at http://student.collegeboard.org/css-financial-aid-profile

Merit Aid/Scholarships

The largest merit packages available to students typically come from the college or university a student attends. Note that there are a number of highly selective schools that offer NO merit monies at all --- since they already have an aggressively competitive pool seeking admission there, they don’t need any additional inducement to convince students to attend. Outside of institutional monies, there are more than $3 billion worth of small scholarships available to qualified applicants. Here are a few search engines that can point you toward opportunities that may fit an applicant:

Other Items

Some colleges require their own institutional form in this financial aid process. Again, check the websites of your son’s colleges for the requirements and deadlines of that college’s financial aid process.

Parents, if you have any financial circumstances which are not well represented on the financial aid forms (assisting elderly or sick family members, recent layoff or unemployment, etc), please feel free to write a letter to each of your son’s college financial aid offices to expand on these.

LendEDU Introductory Overview

LendEDU sponsors a website at which you can learn more on the basics about financial aid, scholarships, and student loans. This free LendEDU course contains 4 main sections with 22 short lectures requiring perhaps an hour and a half to complete.

 

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