Steps for students when considering financial aid:
- Step One: Do the Math
- Start by figuring out how much your education will cost with the College Cost Projector.
- Next, determine how much your family will be expected to contribute with the Financial Aid Estimation Calculator.
- The difference between the cost of your education and your family’s expected contribution is how much financial aid you’ll need.
- Step Two: Consider Your Options
- Student Loans describes low interest loans available for your education.
- Private Loans can provide additional money.
- Scholarships are offered for everything from academic merit and athletic prowess to particular fields of study.
- Other Sources of Aid provides additional options, from national service and military reserve programs to tuition payment plans and other government aid.
- Fastweb’s Filling the Gap to Pay for College is an overview of options for students.
- Step Three: Apply for Financial Aid
- Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) even if you don’t think you’re eligible for financial aid — you may be surprised. Remember, you’ll need to submit a new FAFSA application each year.
- If you are a man between the ages of 18 and 26, you may be required to register with Selective Service. If you fail to register with Selective Service by your 26th birthday you will be ineligible for Federal and state student loans and grants. You can register using the FAFSA form.
- Evaluate your financial aid award letters using Finaid’s Award Letter Comparison Tool. Finaid also has dozens of other student aid calculators.
- Step Four: Still Have Questions?
- Confused by all the terminology? See the financial aid terms glossary.
- Still have unanswered questions? Read the FAQ, a collection of answers to frequently asked questions. If you can’t find an answer there, Ask the Financial Aid Advisor lets you submit questions to financial aid professionals across the country.
If you’re an international student, the EduPASS contains everything you need to know about financial aid and studying in the US.
Considering an advanced degree? Check our our section on the best graduate student loan programs available.