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Financial Aid and Scholarships

Everyone, no matter their income, should apply for financial aid. The application process is not quite as onerous as people assume; but the forms can be a bit confusing. So give yourself time to pull together the information you need and to fill out the forms.

One thing you need to understand from the get-go, however:  just because you think you may not qualify for financial aid does not mean you cannot get any.  Many families with high incomes are surprised at how much scholarship money their son or daughter can earn.  It’s all in having the right strategy for selecting colleges and universities that fit the student well.

We can help you reduce the overall cost of a college education.  Every year, we have many students who are offered generous scholarships–and even a few students each year who are offered full-tuition scholarships to the school of their choice–even though their parents could afford to pay full price!

So if one of your goals is to reduce the cost of a college education, you need Great College Advice from Montgomery Educational Consulting.

For more information about why careful selection of colleges is crucial in landing scholarships, see these links:

Need Help With Financial Aid?
Ten College Planning Tips in Tough Financial Times
Financial Aid, Admissions, and “Need Blind” Policies

Below are some links to important sources of information related to financial aid and scholarships.

FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid

This is the form everyone must fill out if you want to be considered for financial aid. The forms are available and can be submitted starting on January 1 of the year the student plans to matriculate into college. You can find the form at www.fafsa.gov.

CSS Profile

This form is required of many selective private institutions, and requires you to reveal more information to the financial aid offices. It is administered by the College Board, and can be found at profileonline.collegeboard.com/.

General Information

If you’re not sure where to start, and you need some basic information about the financial aid process, check out finaid.org, financialaidtips.org, and students.gov.

Institutional Forms

Some colleges also require that you complete another, separate form for their particular institution. Sometimes this duplicates information, but sometimes the form allows the financial aid office to determine whether you might qualify for particular scholarships offered at their institution. For example, a college might have a scholarship fund for Lutherans, or for trombone players, or residents of Peoria, Illinois.

Scholarships

The best online resource for researching various scholarship opportunities is FastWeb.  You can develop your own profile and identify organizations that might offer funds to fund your own education.  Many experts recommend that you set up several different profiles, each with slightly different criteria, so that you get a broader variety of possible matches.  You can find FastWeb at www.fastweb.org/. Another useful site is Scholarships.com.  The College Board also has a scholarship locator.  Two other sites worth checking out are scholarshiphelp.org and collegescholarships.org.  Don’t forget to also check with your state’s Higher Education Department, as well as with employers and community organizations.

Cost Calculators

These online tools will help you estimate how much money you will be expected to pay for college.  Check out the calculator from the US government and the one from the College Board.


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