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Federal Student Aid and FAFSA®
FAFSA® (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is an application based on the financial records of parents and becomes available October 1. Using the information provided, the family’s expected contribution is calculated and sent to schools. Aid is given out in a first-come-first-serve manner so completing the FAFSA on a timely basis is very important.
College Preparation Checklist
This checklist tells students (and their parents) how to get ready for college, and how the federal government can help pay for it. This to-do list, starting with elementary school, is designed to help students prepare academically and financially for education beyond high school. Each section is split into subsections for students and parents, explaining what to do and which publications or websites might be useful to them. US Department of Education's Federal Student Aid Office.
Don’t Get Scammed on Your Way to College
Tips on avoiding scams and paying for free services when you’re searching for scholarships, filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), and sharing your personal information. US Department of Education's Federal Student Aid Office.
Federal Student Aid
Website of the US Department of Education's Federal Student Aid Office. Search for information on preparing for college, the types of financial aid that are available, information on who qualifies and how to apply, and how to manage student loans.
Federal Student Aid at a Glance / 2019-2020
This flyer gives an explanation of what federal student aid is, who qualified to receive it, and how to apply, along with a chart with details on all the federal student aid programs. US Department of Education's Federal Student Aid Office.
Student Loan Calculator
This student loan calculator from Credit.org shows your monthly student loan payments and how your loan will amortize (be paid off) over time. First, they calculate the monthly payment, taking into account the loan amount, interest rate, loan term and prepayment. The amortization is calculated by taking the amount you pay toward the principal each month and deducting it from your loan balance.
Student Loan Calculator
Use the student loan calculator to view your loan balance over its life and determine your monthly loan payments. Presented by Credit.org.
Resources for Evaluating College Costs
Award Letter Analyzer
One way students can navigate financial aid award letters from colleges is by using a tool that helps calculate what each school would ultimately cost. A student shared this tool from College Advising Corps with NPR. To use it, simply make a copy of the spreadsheet (Click "File" and then click "Make a copy.").
Confused By Your College Financial Aid Letter? You're Not Alone
A high school senior's decision ion where to attend college will be closely tied to a college's financial aid offer. But since there’s no current standardization of these offers, letters look vastly different from one school to the next. This article explains those differences, and gives a tool that can help calculate what each school would ultimately cost. The article also has a guide of financial aid terms to help students and their families navigate through these offers. Author: Elissa Nadworny; part of the NPR special series, 'The Changing Face of College.'
Having the College Money Talk: 10 key questions every family should discuss
This article from the August 2016 issue of Consumer Reports magazine gives questions that students, and their parents, should discuss as part of the process of their college-planning process. The questions range from discussing a student's goals ("What does your student want to get out of college?") to the details of finances ("How much debt can one student manage?") among other topics. Author: Donna Rosato.
The College Scorecard provides up-to-date, comprehensive, and reliable information on colleges, all in an easy-to-understand format. It's a great resource for choosing colleges, helping students to broaden their college search and compare their top-choice schools. The site allows visitors to sort and filter their search results to easily compare schools and decide which college makes the most sense when considering the typical costs, average student loan amount, students’ ability to repay their loans, and their future earnings. Presented by the US Department of Education.
This site includes tools that let you search colleges, create a college list, estimate chances of acceptance, search for scholarships, track admissions and financial aid, and more.
Kiplinger - Best College Values
Ranks U.S. colleges and universities in three separate lists: public, private universities, and liberal arts colleges. Users can query, view and sort the schools on each list by various financial and quality measures.
This site is good for learning about application timelines and getting yourself organized for college as well as searching for schools that meet your criteria. There are articles with helpful tips about choosing colleges, applying to college, and getting financial aid and scholarships. You'll get fast stats about colleges and suggestions about other schools that you may like based on your searches.
Paying for College - "We Need to Talk College"
Paying for College
In a video, Beth Kobliner explains what you need to know about the money side of higher education. The 'Everything You Need to Know About Financial Aid' page is a guide to maximizing the financial help you’ll get and minimizing your family’s debt. The 'Financial Aid Checklist' will help you keep track of the steps you need to take to unlock federal loans, grants, and scholarships. The 'Having the Money Talk'' page gives five talking points for giving a reality check to your teen of what your family can afford. A video shows Nikole and Regla - adaughter and mom talk about how they paid for one of the priciest schools in the U.S. in the wake of the Great Recession. The We Need to Talk College website is presented by Beth Kobliner, an author and commentator and journalist on money issues.
Beth Kobliner on having the "talk" with your kids about the cost of college
Marketplace Morning Report's David Brancaccio spoke with personal finance expert Beth Kobliner, about her latest project, the "We Need to Talk College" website. In this edited transcript, they discuss the economic realities of a college education and more importantly, who's footing the bill and how.
College Scholarship Resources
Cappex - Scholarships
Search for scholarships from colleges, universities, private companies, foundations -- and more -- to help pay for school. Fill out a profile to discover which ones match you best.
This site provides college search options and lists that can help students identify and explore colleges by major, location and a variety of other criteria. Easily search and apply for $7 billion in scholarships.
This site is oriented towards helping students search for scholarships, but it will also help you find colleges that may interest you. You can set up a account for free that will allow you to locate colleges and scholarships that fit your specific needs. There are helpful blog articles on the site as well that have advice on scholarships and colleges. You can also search for student loans on Fastweb - you just have to answer a few questions and you’ll get a list of all your loan choices. This site is a nice user-friendly means of finding scholarships and loans that will help you to avoid getting too overwhelmed with your options.
GoodCall Scholarship Search Engine
Users can refine their scholarship search by grade level, due date, dollar amount being awarded, entry difficulty, and competition level. Search criteria can be added for ethnicity, gender, application type, college major, and location.