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What’s in a Financial Aid Award Letter?

Financial aid awards come in all shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, so do financial aid award letters and comparing them can seem like comparing apples to hot dogs. Here are the key elements to look for: Cost of Attendance. This should be at the top of the award letter and it– not the size of scholarships– should be your starting point…

State and Private Funding of Higher Ed Increase

State funding for higher education exceeded $100 billion for the first time in the current fiscal year, according to the Grapevine Report, an annual report produced by by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association and Illinois State University. This preliminary report shows projected spending for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2022, which corresponds to the current…

Net Price Calculators

Getting an estimate of your Expected Family Contribution is really helpful, and it’s pretty easy. The Department of Education’s unfortunately-named Student Aid Estimator will calculate the FAFSA’s EFC for you with a few data inputs; the College Board offers one for the CSS Profile. While each has its limitations– in particular, the Profile’s EFC estimator doesn’t account for the myriad…

New Year’s Resolutions

Happy 2022! One of my resolutions is to just take this year as it comes rather than promising myself everything is going to get better. There will be good days and bad days, but I’m not setting any expectations about what those are going to look like. That doesn’t help you get your kiddo through college, though, so here are…

FAFSA Resources

Happy FAFSA Day! Are you completing the FAFSA for the first time this year? While you’re waiting for the site to load, here are some resources that will help you get through it with a minimum of chaos and maximum of financial aid. First things first: Do you have an FSA ID yet? If not, go to studentaid.gov right now…

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