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Parents’ Guide to College Financial Aid

So how will you afford four (or more) years of higher education? Ever heard of FAFSA? If not, consider this your formal introduction because you two are going to become quite close over the course of your child’s matriculation. The FAFSA, which stands for the Free Application for Student Aid, must be completed each year your child is in college and determines exactly how much money you are eligible to receive through federal assistance programs and grants, how much you can borrow through federal loans and how much you may need to secure through private lending agencies annually.

We’re not going to lie to you, the FAFSA can be a little intimidating for those filling it out for the first time but it will give you the best overall understanding of what you’ll receive from Uncle Sam and what you’ll have to dig out of your own pockets. Here’s a closer look. If the numbers don’t crunch the way you anticipated they would, don’t forget about grants and scholarships – there are literally thousands of them that your child could win for being a good student, community leader or left-handed vegetarian. (Yes, we said left-handed vegetarian. And we were serious.)

Loans vs. Grants vs. Scholarships

Your parents probably stressed the value of a dollar to you on a daily basis and while it may have seemed like overkill then, you probably thank them every day for the constant reminder. Not only have you used that advice to pad your own accounts but have no doubt put some money aside for your child’s education; unless you are extremely well off or have recently won the lottery, however, these savings won’t go very far when you factor in tuition, room and board and other educational expenses. Simply put, you’re going to need some help in the finance department and loans, grants and scholarships will help you through…but what option is best?

A “Good Deal” Goes Beyond the Numbers

What constitutes a “good deal” in terms of education? Sure, the cost will play a factor but that’s not the only issue to consider. Does the college offer your child’s intended major? Where did the faculty graduate from? Are the residence halls up to par? Is the food edible? These are all questions you and your child should answer before committing to attend a college. How? Do your research.

Latest College & Financial Aid News

Yale to Ditch "Freshman", "Upperclassmen", Adopt Gender-Neutral Terms

September 19, 2017

by Susan Dutca

In an effort to modernize, Yale will no longer use the terms "freshman" and "underclassmen" and will instead adopt gender-neutral terminology, such as "first-year" and "upper-level students." University officials still anticipate students and faculty to use the old terminology, since they're "deeply ingrained in our everyday language and in Yale's history."

The new terminology can be found in the Undergraduate Regulations and the First-Year Handbook and is expected to appear in all Yale College's publications and communications by the start of the 2018-2019 academic year. The effort to phase out the older terminology is "a piece of a larger movement to reflect the diversity of college campuses" and also in part because the "two words in particular are gendered," according to Jennifer Keup, Director Of the National Resource for the First-Year-Experience and students in Transition. [...]

Senate Bill to Make College Affordable and Accessible for Homeless, Foster Care Youth

September 13, 2017

by Susan Dutca

A bipartisan group of U.S House of Representatives and U.S. Senate lawmakers recently introduced a bill that would help homeless students and foster youth get the financial support they need for college. The bill would also remove other barriers to higher education, such as providing housing options, improving outreach, and streamlining the FAFSA to homeless and foster care students. [...]

Harvest Fall Scholarships for College

September 7, 2017

by Susan Dutca

Enjoy a seasonal treat this season with fall scholarships from Scholarships.com to help pay your college tuition bill. Harvest some of the largest dollar scholarships, most prestigious scholarships, and brand name scholarships out there with our list of October scholarships. These autumn scholarships are so good you'll scream! So hurry and apply for these scholarships due in October and don't let them fall by the wayside. For a complete list of scholarships due in October, click here. [...]