Navigating the College Financial Maze

Helping your child navigate college costs is a place parents' wisdom and experience can help to alleviate stress. Being the person they lean on as they go through this process is an opportunity to coach them as they begin to take on adult financial obligations​.

Becoming familiar with financial aid terminology like Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and filling out the FAFSA early will allow for adequate time to gather information and manage details, help set realistic expectations, and avoid last-minute scrambles when making admission decisions. Having an overview of the cost to attend college, the financial aid process and information required by colleges will enable students and families to build a plan for managing college costs and balance the cost factor when determining college fit.

Myth Busting and Financial Aid (from FAFSA)

“My parents make too much money, so I won’t qualify for aid.”

Reality: There is no income cut-off to qualify for federal student aid. Many factors such as the size of your family and your year in school are taken into account. And remember: when you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form, you’re also automatically applying for funds from your state, and possibly from your school as well. In fact, some schools won’t even consider you for any of their scholarships (including academic scholarships) until you’ve submitted a FAFSA form. Don’t make assumptions about what you’ll get—fill out the FAFSA form and find out.

“Federal student aid is just ‘free money’ like grants.”

Reality: Federal student aid includes three different kinds of financial help: grants, low-interest loans, and work-study funds (a part-time job on or near campus).

For more information about FAFSA, types of aid, who gets aid, applying for aid, and loans,

go to:

Ka-Ching: How to Estimate College Costs

Costs: Building a College List – With Eyes Wide Open

For more information about navigating the college financial maze and your college search visit the college.u Financial Resources.

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