It’s that time of year again. No, I’m not talking about the holiday season….I’m talking about financial aid filing season! The CSS Profile (which I wrote about in a recent blog post) is ready. And waiting to be completed by those of you who are applying to those schools who require it. However the FAFSA’s availability is imminent (January 1). So, in the spirit of giving, I thought I’d give you all my thoughts on some of the most useful financial aid websites that are out there.
Important Sites for FAFSA and CSS Profile
FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
Worksheet: Worksheet to use before filling out the FAFSA.
Forecaster: Calculator that helps you estimate your financial aid.
FAFSA PIN Application: Apply for FAFSA PIN here.
CSS Profile Application: Some schools require this application as well as the FAFSA.
Great Sites That Provide A Financial Aid Overview
This should be everyone’s first stop when they are initially trying to orient themselves to the world of financial aid. It does a great job explaining every aspect of financial aid including information on loans, scholarships, and savings plans. Also, this site provides users with various tools to help them estimate their potential college costs and Estimated Family Contribution.
Next, this site provides you with a whole host of useful information. Including an overview of the financial aid landscape, state-level financial aid and scholarship opportunities, and regional tuition discounts for which students may be eligible.
In addition to all kinds of other great information on the world of financial aid, Mapping Your Future provides some great tools to help you understand what you can afford to borrow. Also check out their Debt Wizard. This shows you how much you can borrow based on your projected future earnings. And their Student Loan Repayment Calculator tells you what your loan payments will be and how much money you’ll need to earn to pay those loans back.
StudentAid.gov: Put out by Federal Student Aid, a part of the U.S. Department of Education, which is the largest provider of student financial aid in the nation, this site provides a great foundation on financial aid with links to all things FAFSA-related.
Sites that Give Insight on Merit Aid
A great big thank you to the New York Times. They published this list of the merit aid that schools have given out over the last few years. As well as the percentage of students who receive it at each institution.
Invaluable Sites for International Students
InternationalStudents.com: Lastly, for international students who are looking for help to finance their U.S. education, this website is invaluable. Among their many pages, the site offers an option to explore by state which colleges provide financial aid to international students and how much they have historically provided on average.
EduPass.org: Another great resource for international students. This site gives tons of information on all aspects of attending school in the U.S., and their section on financial aid for foreign students is a must read for anyone from abroad considering studying in the U.S.