Everything About Financial Aid: Show me the money!

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Financial Aid Editorial Note:

Everyone knows California is broke.

Seven states including California currently pay all or most of the education costs to provide illegals with a mostly free college education. Contrast this to the efforts of many Americans to finance their children's education, and the concerns about the long term debt this will require.

In California, we provide a free education for illegals and this costs taxpayers about $200 million per year. California is bankrupt, by the way, mostly because of foolish, idealogical decisions and legislation.

A movement is now afoot, lead by The College Board, for all states to provide this largess for illegals, and to make it easier for illegals to get into college. Contact your state and national representatives to express your viewpoint on this newest exercise in fiscal lunacy. And don't write me irate emails protesting my opinion; my concern is the education of our own students, and their parents' efforts to provide for that education.

Financial Aid: As in, how're you gonna pay for college?

Some options:

  • Uncle Fred

  • Mom and Dad

  • Student Loans

  • Free Money (Scholarships)

  • Working

  • Grants, Loans, Fellowships

  • Military

  • All of the above
  • We cover it all on these pages.

    But First, some truths

    College tuition and related costs began to rise as the Student Loan programs became the norm. Colleges saw the opportunity to raise their rates, and they did, and still do, until now, the average family cannot afford the cost of a college education without financial help.

    Before the Student Loan Programs became the norm, it did not cost the price of a home, to send your child to college.

    Once admitted, contact the Financial Aid Office at your college. Generally, you can do this on the web, and then call their office if your questions are not answered. Other than grants, scholarships or other money you may receive from non-student loan sources, the school financial aid office handles the aid.

    Paying for College - AN OVERVIEW

    Financial Aid refers to money made available from various sources to provide some or all of the costs of a college education and the process of applying for it.

    Sources include student and parent loans, grants, and scholarships. Some loans are available with a signature, some are need or merit-based: the field is a wide one, and some rudimentary knowledge is necessary to find your way.

    Will I Need Financial Help?

    Tuition is up at many schools; grants are down, and many families are feeling the stress of wondering how they will pay for your education. It is a good idea to have a candid discussion with your parents before beginning the college search process. This way you will have a more realistic view of the role finances may play in your college search and eventual choices.

    Minimize sticker shock from costs by considering financially safe colleges-ones your family can afford, and you feel comfortable attending. Two-year community colleges and four-year in-state public colleges are often financially safe choices. Another option is a college offering a three-year bachelor's program.

    There are many outstanding colleges, providing excellent educations, that fit within reasonable economic boundaries. For instance, students in thirteen western states may participate in reciprocal agreements that allow reduced tuition at other states in the program.

    U.S. Department of Education. Student Loan Site

    School Grants, check this out!

    Government Sites for Aid information

    FAFSA Express: The First Essential Piece of applying for Financial Aid is THE FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

    The Government Now Runs the Subsidized Student Loan Program

    Federal Student Aid Program

    Aid Forms, FAFSA, CSS Profile


    Student Guide from the U.S. Department of Education

    The CSS Profile: loan application, mostly for private schools, non-federal student aid

    CSS Profile, mostly private colleges, in addition to FAFSA

    Don't forget about alternative sources of money, some of it earned, and some of it free.

    Think work, scholarships, and living on the cheap. Especially in these economically troubled times,invest the time to investigate scholarships and other forms of free money. Remember, that the taxpayer pays almost 3/4 of the college costs at public universities, and these funds may ebb with a troubled economy.

    529 College Savings Plan

    If you're looking at this site with some time to plan and prepare, take a look at FinAid - latest in financial aid information

    CollegeNow.com - National Prepaid Tuition Plan

    Colleges and Careers, loans, scholarships, info

    Scholarship pages

    Working with a College Planner (How to best prepare to pay)

    Families with younger children and time on their side, may be interested in working with a certified financial planners who specialize in helping families prepare for college expenses. While the best time to contact an educational financial adviser is while their children are young, financial planners are also able to offer financial advice, flexibility and leverage for families with high school students. In the words of one planner: "Would you rather pay wholesale or retail for college?"

    Be sure to investigate thoroughly, and ask for references, and proof of certification.

    Please Don't Leave Yet, But When You Do...

    A vast amount of useful and necessary information can be found at U.S. Department of Education's huge Web site.

    This is where you go to find out anything you'd want (well, more like need, actually,) to know about financial aid, colleges and higher education.

    You'll find sites for students, parents, and educators. AND, the site has an awesome college search engine that searches 7,000 schools, allowing you to set a lengthly list of search criteria.

    Also get acquainted with the financial aid terms. You'll learn, or at least know where to find, the meaning of all those boring acronyms that are essential for navigating the-paying-for-college stuff stuff, and they describe different types of loans and programs.

    The page also has links to all our other comprehensive financial aid and scholarship pages.

    All in all, it's a deal.

    National Association of Student Financial Aid


    Learn about scholarships here

    College Student Loans


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