Financial Aid & Scholarships
Make yourself aware of college costs and determine likely expected family contribution as early as possible. Each school web site, and many of the college search engines, will provide information on tuition, board and associated expenses. Several commercial and college websites now offer financial aid calculators which will predict eligibility for aid and the amount colleges will require for parent and student contribution.
Be candid with your daughter, early on, about financial parameters. Finances legitimately and appropriately impact college choice. The way to avoid conflict and disappointment at the end is to set parameters from the start.
Scholarship and financial aid information is available in the College Guidance Office, on the web, from college financial aid officers and local libraries. The number of financial aid and scholarship scams reported to the federal government has risen alarmingly; watch out. Do not use scholarship or financial aid search services which charge fees.
On line submission of financial forms is easiest if you begin by printing a copy of the form and collecting all materials necessary to fill in the application. When you have everything together, you can begin to fill in on-line. Remember that thousands of families successfully fill out the FAFSA and CSS/Profile forms every year. They only appear daunting; take a deep breath and plunge in.
Research each college's treatment of independent scholarships. Most schools deduct money received from outside scholarships from the student financial aid package; some will reduce grants, others will reduce loans. Check all prospective colleges for the availability of institutionally provided merit aid.