Paying for College
Paying for College is a difficult concept for most students and families to digest. Some think, "We cannot afford to send our children to college". But for the sake of your child's future, maybe it would be better to think, "We cannot afford NOT to send our children to college".
Few students get a free-ride scholarship. Few families can afford to just write a check to pay the entire college bill. For most families it will take a combination of all sources of financial aid. Financial Aid is the term used to refer to any money that is spent on college.
Applying for Financial Aid
Applying for financial aid begins by filling out and submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students that are graduating in the spring may apply for financial aid after January 1st. Before you apply you should download the FAFSA on the Web Worksheet from the fafsa website and fill it out. Also each student and ONE parent will need to get a Personal Identification Number (PIN). This number will be your electronic signature and will allow you to access submitted information at a later time.
FAFSA's must be completed online at the official government site.
Apply here for your PIN (Personal Identification Number)
After submitting your financial information to the federal processor, you will receive a report called the Student Aid Report (SAR). Make sure you indicate which colleges you want to receive your SAR. If the college does not receive the SAR, they will not offer you an 'Award Letter'. The FAFSA4caster is a tool you may want to use before you submit your FAFSA. The FAFSA4caster will provide you with an estimate of your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
Financial Aid 101
Free Scholarship Search - FASTWEB