Financial Aid for College
The Step-By-Step Process for Applying for Financial Aid
Use the Net Price Calculators provided by Colleges and Universities. The College Board provides access to many. While some are better than others, we anticipate that the FAFSA’s availability in October will lead to increasingly better Net Price Calculators.
The College Board’s Net Price Calculator will let you create an account, enter, and save information so that you may compare potential awards as part of the search process and in advance of applying.
From an introduction to Financial Aid to comparing awards, Big Future, from The College Board, is an exceptional resource.
- Step 1 - Use the Net Price Calculators
- Step 2 - Apply and Attend to Deadlines
- Step 3 - Complete the FAFSA (Opens October 1)
- Step 4 - Complete the CSS Profile (for Most Colleges/Universities - Opens October 1)
- Step 5 - Check for and Complete any Ccollege/University Specific Forms
- Step 6 - Review Your Student Aid Report
- Step 7 - Get to Know the Financial Aid Offices
- Step 8 - Be Prepared for Verification
- Step 9 - Compare Apples to Apples
Start with each college's Net Price Calculator to estimate the cost of attendance. The College Board provides this service to many colleges. Alternatively, type Net Price Calculator into individual college search tools.
Complete and submit all forms as soon as possible (the FAFSA and CSS Profile are both available on October 1). You do not want to be applying to college at the same time you are working on the financial aid process-start as early as possible and both processes will be much easier and more productive.
Make sure you get a name to ask for in the financial aid office and admissions office (always get a business card)-this can often help connect you to individuals who are making decisions that will affect your financial aid package.
Be Organized - This is the key to success, not only in applying for financial aid office - they are a wealth of knowledge, but you need to ask questions- counselors cannot read your mind.
FAFSA is available to complete starting on October 1.
CSS Profile is available to complete starting on October 1.
For more information:
- Federal Government’s support resources for the FAFSA.
- College Board’s support resources for the CSS Profile (including what documents you may need).