The Scholarship Question: Can They Cut Your College Costs?

"For most of us, five areas of spending will consume over 50% of the money we earn during our lifetime,...The five areas are: Home, car, children, education and retirement". Manisha Thakor, Forbes Magazine

There's no doubt college is a substantial financial investment. In addition to filling out the FAFSA and the CSS Profile (for schools that require it) to receive need-based or merit aid, looking for scholarships might help to offset costs. It would be nice if all scholarships were free money. Doing your homework about the potential impacts an independent scholarship can have on institutional aid in your financial package is a piece of the college process you don’t want to overlook. Finding out the details like: if a scholarship requires maintaining a certain GPA, will cover up to eight semesters of school, or might be reduced every year are just a few criteria when reviewing the fine print. Once you’ve been accepted and received your financial aid package, you will know how much college will cost. If you have multiple acceptances and financial packages, using the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau site can help you compare financial aid packages apples to apples and decide where outside scholarships may be helpful and when they might not make sense.

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