Financial Aid

Financial Aid

Unfortunately, college isn't free, and, more unfortunately, the process of paying for college isn't easy. These resources can help.

FAFSA is the federal government's student aid application. Beyond federal need, states use FAFSA data, and many colleges use the same data to determine merit aid and other scholarships, so it is important to complete the FAFSA even if you don't qualify for federal aid.

Note that the federal government uses income data from what they call the year "prior prior" - this is the calendar year of the student's spring sophomore/fall junior year. It can be helpful to prepare your family for this year in order not to make any common mistakes during this time.

How Financial Aid Formulas Work

Preparing for Prior Prior Year Edvisors

Preparing for Prior Prior Year Cappex

FAFSA Resources

Federal Student Aid - Toolkit Main Page

EFC estimator Saving for College - useful for getting an idea of what your aid might be before applying

EFC estimator Big Future

FSA ID - Start Here for FAFSA

FAFSA On the Web Worksheet for Families - Paper version to complete before completing online

FAFSA Question by Question Guide; Page on Parent Income Information is especially helpful

Correcting/Updating FAFSA

How to Apply to More than 10 Colleges

Common FAFSA Mistakes Blog

FAFSA: After Applying, Next Steps

After Filing

Understanding SAR - Student Aid Report

Once you are accepted to the colleges of your choice, you will get a financial aid report (or "award letter") which will help you understand how to pay for college. You can choose to follow the suggestions or not; these are available to help you see how paying for the particular school might be possible. At this time, you'll want to think about things like whether you want to take on debt and how much to take on.

Big Future: Compare Your Aid Awards (calculator)

Hechinger Report Offer Letter Decoder

Federal vs. Private Loans

Federal Loan Repayment Estimator

BigFuture: Parent Loan Repayment Calculator

Debt Salary Wizard

Which Parent? Parent PLUS Loan

College Cost Calculator (After Award)

Video Resources

Borrowing Basics

Repayment What to Expect

How college loans exploit students for profit

Loan Repayment Plans

Standard - higher payments but quicker payoff, less interest

Extended - lower payments over a longer period of time

Graduated - low income that should increase over time