This article from Ron Lieber at the New York Times highlights some recent bipartisan efforts to help students and families better understand the cost of college. (As he points out towards the end, even if these come to no avail, the information is available to those who seek it.)
Q: I won’t qualify for financial aid. Do I need to fill out the FAFSA?
A: Yes! Regardless of whether you think you’re eligible for aid, you should complete the FAFSA. You have to complete it if you (or your student) intends to take out federal student loans, which are available to anyone regardless of need. If you have any intention of borrowing, the Direct Student Loan should be your starting point. Plus, some Continue reading FAFSA FAQs 2
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, this is a bit of a refresher post.
There are three aid formulas: Federal methodology (FM), based on the FAFSA; Institutional Methodology (IM), based on the CSS PROFILE; and Consensus Methodology (CM), which uses both aid forms. Each is a different way of calculating a family’s Continue reading Aid Formulas
The FAFSA for next school year will be available starting Oct. 1, so now is a good time to start getting ready for it. A few key points: Continue reading FAFSA is Coming
As fall kicks into gear, students begin looking in earnest at colleges. Kids tend to focus on a few core aspects of colleges when creating and narrowing down a list: majors available, location, big vs small. Later in the school year, I get calls from panicked parents whose students have fallen in love with and often been accepted to wonderful Continue reading What Colleges Can You Afford?
Stealth applicants are a buzzword in college admissions these days. What is a stealth applicant? It’s someone who applies to a school without ever having interacted with that school prior to the application. It’s become increasingly common as it’s become easier to get information about schools without interacting with them. But if you’re really Continue reading Don’t be a Stealth Applicant
No, I’m not trying to excuse my recent absence from posting by suddenly buying into ratings hype!
The Princeton Review has some interesting rankings that might be a good second step on your winnowing-down-of-schools process. (The first step being of course identifying schools that you can likely afford.) In addition to their ranking of the “Best” 381 colleges, Continue reading Some School Rankings
My apologies if this is a little down-to-the-wire. Then again, you might do better waiting until the last minute to negotiate an aid award. If you’re planning to do so, here are a few things you need to know.
The first step is to determine what type of aid is being offered, need or merit (or a Continue reading Negotiating an Aid Award
If you have not yet filed the FAFSA for the coming school year, you may be stuck entering your income data manually. The IRS last week said they do not expect the Data Retrieval Tool to be available until the next FAFSA cycle begins in October, due to security concerns. Continue reading Update on IRS Data Retrieval Tool
Sallie Mae’s annual How America Pays for College report has some good news: In the 2015-2016 school year, the average amount families spent on college went down slightly, to $23,688. The biggest decline came on spending for 2-year colleges; families with students in 4-year schools reported spending about the same as in the previous year. In Continue reading How America Pays for College