Financial Aid: To Apply or Not to Apply

Definition of Financial Aid:

    • A process to help bridge the gap between the family's resources and the cost of attendance (COA).
    • Families furnish the schools with information about their income and assets by submitting aid forms. 
    • Schools review family's data to determine how much the family can afford to pay (expected family contribution- EFC).
    • If the family's expected contribution is less than the COA, there is a calculated financial need, and assistance is available. 

Families are often confused about whether or not they should apply for financial aid. For some, it's an obvious yes because there is great need, while others worry that a college's perception of their need will be different than their own.  Even families with a comfortable income ask if applying for financial aid will help or hinder their student in the college application process.

College Find believes the vast majority of families should apply for financial aid. Revealing your family's financial information insures:

    • Your ability to tap into appropriate state and school-based funds
    • Options for borrowing money (student and parent loans)
    • A college's ability to work with you should your financial picture suddenly change

Choosing the right college is a critical component to receiving the best aid possible. College Find works diligently to match your student to schools that will value the ability and interests that your student brings to a campus.

The Major Aid Forms:

FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid : A form required of all families seeking financial aid. It is available beginning October 1 of the student's senior year. It is best to submit this as early as possible.

    • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) takes students line-by-line through the financial aid filing process. 

CSS Profile :  A fee-based form that collects information some private colleges use to award non-federal student aid funds.  Like the FAFSA, this form can be submitted as early as the fall of senior year.  Check individual due dates of each college.

Institutional Forms:  An extra form found on some college financial aid websites that requests additional information from families.  It is often used for college-specific scholarships.

What Clients Say

"Gael is everything she promises and more! Whether you have a strong-willed student (like mine) or an uncertain student, Gael has a great manner with them -- to go with a substantive knowledge base and a clear process for both you and your young adult. Gael was worth every penny! "




College Find, LLC 
Marin, CA

Educational Consulting services are offered locally, nationally and internationally.
College photos courtesy of Carolee Gravina

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