You've heard the rumor that there's money available for kids for college. Yet, you are pretty sure you're not going to qualify for any of it or you're not sure how to get it.
Well, the rumor is true. There is money available. Some of it's easy to get. Some of it's harder. However, ForWord Consulting can teach you some of the tricks and tips to give you a little edge and find a little cash.
Financial Aid Terms
Let's run through a scenario:
You have a child who wants to attend Colgate University.
Step 1: You determine Colgate's COA by going to its website.
Colgate's COA: $64,730
Step 2: You complete the FAFSA and/or the CSS Profile to determine your family's EFC.
Your EFC: $45,890
Step 3: You subtract your EFC from the COA to determine your GAP.
$64,730 (Your COA)
-$45,890 (Your EFC)
= $18,840 (Your Gap, or the difference)
How to make up this difference? Read on!
Understanding the Different Types of Financial Aid
Need-based Federal Financial Aid
Students who are financially needy have some options available to them to help finance college. The first and most important piece of advice is this:
Fill out the FAFSA and CSS Profile by the Priority Deadline.
If you're needy, the government will offer you some financial aid in various forms.
Every student is eligible for Unsubsidized Loans.
Need-based Institutional Aid
Universities recognize that their schools cost money. As such, they set aside funding to encourage those with financial need to apply and attend.
Some universities, particularly the most expensive and elite, are 100% need-met schools. This means that they will cover the Gap, no matter how large it is. That's right. If your Gap is $18,840 for Colgate, Colgate, which is a 100% need-met school, will erase that amount from your tuition.
You are not eligible for any need-based institutional aid unless you complete the FAFSA and CSS Profile by the Priority Deadline.
Merit-based Institutional Financial Aid
Let's say you're an exceptional student and a university wants you to attend. To lure you there, it might offer you a tuition reduction in the form of a full- or partial scholarship.
Sometimes you have to fill out a separate application. Sometimes you're automatically considered for the scholarship just by applying.
However, there's a catch. To take advantage of this money, you must submit your application to the university by the Early Action or Early Decision deadline. Miss that deadline and you miss out.
Either way, it's worth noting which universities tend to give money and their qualifications.
Merit-based Private Financial Aid
Private scholarships can easily help alleviate the stress of the gap. ForWord Consulting has a ton of experience is applying for and winning scholarships for its clients.
In fact, one ForWord student has earned $52K in outside, private scholarships.
In the end, the only additional ways of securing extra funding is through private loans. However, keep in mind that students cannot easily secure loans on their own. Parents will need to co-sign on them.
Private loans have a higher interest rate than federal unsubsidized loans.
Financial Aid Fundamentals
Merit Aid: Claims to be the easiest site for helping students find scholarships and will even bring the scholarships to your inbox.
Forbes: An easy to understand guide to financial aid.
Department of Education: This flyer discusses federal financial aid resources in one quick page.
EFC Data: This document explains how your EFC is calculated.
CSS vs. FAFSA: To understand the differences between the two.
Financial Aid Terms
First, you have to know what all the different terms mean when you're talking about Financial Aid.
To understand the differences between the CSS