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Need-based Aid

What Kind of Aid is it?

Scholarships and grants are free money. Does it matter which kind of free money you get, as long as you get some? As a matter of fact, it does. Just to refresh: colleges offer two primary types of financial aid, need-based and merit-based. Need-based aid is allocated on the basis of the FAFSA or CSS Profile and reduces or even…

EFC vs Net Cost

Families of college-bound students are always looking for strategies to manage their Expected Family Contribution, and I’m happy to oblige. However, lowering your EFC is no guarantee of getting financial aid. And that’s why net cost is important. Your EFC is what the federal needs analysis methodology says is the amount you can spend on college. You can estimate it…

Trends in College Pricing and Student Aid

The College Board’s annual Trends in College Pricing and Student Aid report was released recently. Among the headline findings: college tuition prices increased at extremely low rates for the second year in a row, reflecting both a combination of continued impacts of the pandemic and enrollment pressures from demographic trends. Average net prices, adjusted for inflation, are at the lowest…

Unemployment on the FAFSA

Generally the FAFSA does not count untaxed social benefits as income. Untaxed Social Security, SSI, foster care benefits and welfare payments are excluded from income for the FAFSA, although disability payments and worker’s comp– which are insurance benefits– are added back. Normally unemployment income is taxable so this exclusion would not apply. However, the American Rescue Plan made 2020 unemployment…

The CSS Profile

The FAFSA isn’t the only financial aid form; many students and families also need to complete the CSS Profile. The Profile is used by about 400 mostly private colleges and universities. There are a few key differences between the FAFSA and the Profile, and most families will find that the Profile calculates a higher EFC than does the FAFSA. The…

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