Financial Aid Toolkit

Why I Love the New Financial Aid Toolkit

On December 1, 2013, the office of Federal Student Aid launched its new Financial Aid Toolkit for high school counselors and other college mentors. I have to admit that I didn’t pay too much attention to the website at the time, especially with classes winding down and the holidays quickly approaching; I just took a quick glance and noted that the overall look was very clean and professional. I did, however, make a note in my calendar to come back in January to give it a whirl. When I logged back onto the site, I was not disappointed. In fact, I haven’t been this excited about a college resource tool in a long time. It’s obvious the U.S. Department of Education put a lot of thought into creating this toolkit. The website is easy to use and hosts a wealth of knowledge on a variety of college planning topics. Here are just a few of the sections that I found most valuable.

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How to Apply for Federal Aid

federal student aid Every year, millions of students apply and receive federal financial aid. To get your piece of the pie, you must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA determines your eligibility for federal aid programs, like Pell Grants and student loans. Universities and some scholarship programs also use the FAFSA to determine need-based financial assistance. Don’t worry! There isn’t any mystery to the FAFSA. Read below to learn how to apply for federal aid today.

1. Obtain the FAFSA form.

You have three filing options: Login Online, Complete a PDF FAFSA, or Request a paper FAFSA by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID. Continue Reading…


Uncovering the Mysterious FAFSA

FAFSA It’s that time of year again! Yes, millions of students, like you, will be seeking federally funded financial assistance to reach their college goals.

So, what’s the mystery? Exactly, what is FAFSA? The acronym stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

The FAFSA is an electronic form used to determine your eligibility for student grants, work-study, and loans. The application is important because it decides whether you will receive free money, like a Federal Pell Grant, and is used by universities to distribute financial aid packages.

The comprehensive form, roughly 100 questions, asks for details about you and your family’s financial background, including income and assets. Then, the government reviews your answers to determine your expected family contribution (EFC).  The amount of money you cannot afford for college is simply referred to as your NEED. Your need is used by colleges to determine financial aid awards. Continue Reading…


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