Virtually all colleges offer need-based financial aid. A typical need-based aid package might include grants (from the college and/or the government) that you need not pay back, loans (often government-issued and discounted in terms of interest charged and payment schedule), and a paid campus job (work-study).
When in doubt as to whether you will qualify for some kind of need-based aid, you may use a web-based financial aid calculator to see how colleges might regard your situation. While individual schools perform this analysis in their own ways, this tool may indicate whether applying for aid would be worthwhile. If your financial situation is complex, if special circumstances adversely affect your economic situation, or if a web-based calculator indicates you’re close to qualifying for need-based aid, you may qualify for more aid than the calculator suggests. In general, if you think you might need financial aid, you should apply for it. In any case, the calculator can help you shape your final list of colleges to ensure that it includes affordable options. Financial aid calculators take little time to use and are available at various sites, such as , , and . These sites provide other useful financial information as well.
Even more helpful is the Net Price Calculator that each college is required to post on its web site. These are customized to each college’s own cost structure and financial aid policies. After completing any Net Price Calculator, it is prudent to call that college’s financial aid office to ask 1) if you did it correctly, and 2) how close an estimate you should assume it is. Bear in mind that Net Price Calculators neither can be, nor are meant to be, exact calculations or guarantees of cost or aid. They are merely estimators to give you some sense of your likely cost. The financial package your child eventually receives may include aid that the calculator could not anticipate and the financial aid office could not promise prior to completion of the admissions process. Whether or not you anticipate aid, always wait to see what a college actually offers.
In order to qualify for need-based financial aid, you (student and parents together) must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after October 1 of your senior year. You’ll find it at (always be sure you have the .gov site for FAFSA). If you want a preliminary estimate of the government’s calculation of your need, you can find a FAFSA estimator at the same site.
番茄社区成人appDepending on where you’re applying, you may also need to complete the CSS PROFILE required by many selective colleges. The PROFILE is available at www.collegeboard.com.
Finally, some colleges may also require their own financial aid form.