Student financial aid in the United States

Should I complete the FAFSA? I don’t think I’ll qualify for financial aid.

College - Just Ahead

First: Use the FAFSA4Caster to see where you stand regarding financial aid eligibility.

Then, as daunting as the process sounds, it is worth the effort to complete the FAFSA even if you don’t think you will qualify for aid for three reasons.

1.  Some schools require that the FAFSA (and CSS Profile) be filed in order for the student to be considered for MERIT Aid. —It is worth a call to the Financial Aid office of the college/university to find out if the FAFSA/CSS Profile is required for students to be considered for Merit Aid AND the school’s deadline.

2.  In order to get Federal Student Loans (some which are not based on financial need), the FAFSA must be filed.

3.  In the unfortunate event that your financial position changes over the next 12 months, the FAFSA would already be on file and you would not have to wait until January of next year to file the new FAFSA.

Related Content:

Myths About Financial Aid

The Dept. of Education source for answers about Federal Student Aid

FAFSA:  Who Should Apply for Financial Aid? by Fred Amrein of College Affordability

For more Resources relating to Financing College, visit the Software/Resources page of my website.

Sandy Aprahamian, Principal, EDNavigators LLC

Time Sensitive College Advice for High School Juniors and Their Parents

For the Students:  Standardized Testing Timeline

High School Juniors should plan to take the SAT or ACT this winter.  Sign up for the exams and begin preparation now.

For the Parents:  Financial Aid/ College Affordability Timeline

Parents, of Juniors, THIS (2013) is the tax year that will be used for FAFSA and Profile financial aid forms.  The time to get a feel for where you stand, is NOW.  I recommend a fee-based financial planner who specializes in college affordability.  Higher Education is a big investment and honest financial counseling is an important first step of the college planning process. The money and time spent on the financial planner's advice and analysis often pays for itself.  I recommend Fred Amrein at College Affordability for a personalized and customized financial plan for college. His website provides a financial aid video library.  It is worth a look.

 

What is the College Scorecard?

President Obama released the College Scorecard in February 2013. The College Scorecard is part of the U.S. Department of Education’s College Affordability and Transparency Center.  It aims to help consumers in deciding whether or not a college is a good value.  Today President Obama is scheduled to announce a proposal that will link ratings like this to financial aid. Check out the College Affordability and Transparency Center.  It has some valuable information and statistics.   I suggest that you do not input your finances into the Net Price Calculator on this page.  Some colleges track this information as part of their demonstrated interests/Enrollment Management Strategy.  EdNavigators offers a product called the College Affordability Shaper which allows you to see where you stand with regard to financial aid privately, with no one else being able to access your personal information.

Sandy Aprahamian, Owner, Independent Educational Consultant, EdNavigators