Financial Aid Resources
As part of your college search process, you will probably need to talk with your family about college costs. What will your family be able to afford? Will brothers and sisters be in college or private schools when you will be? How much does a state university cost compared to an out-of-state public institution? What is the tuition, room and board at a private institution? How much will airfare and travel expenses cost?
Despite the differences in tuition among private and public colleges, you should not let this prevent you from considering a certain school because of the cost. Almost all colleges accept students whether the student needs financial aid or not. Once a student has been accepted and received a financial aid package, the difference in cost between a private and public college may be almost nothing.
Need-based financial aid is determined by the demonstrated financial need of your family. Your parents will complete forms (the CSS Profile is available in September, and the FAFSA, the federal forms, are due in January) which detail their financial situation. When you are accepted to college, it will notify you of any financial awards. A financial aid package may include grants, loans, and scholarship money, and/or work-study money. There are a variety of circumstances that may qualify your family for financial aid. Don’t rule out the possibility of applying because your household has a certain income. Remember, if your family has a change of circumstance while you are in college, you may not be considered for aid if you did not apply as a senior.
Financial Aid Forms:
FAFSA – This is a federal financial aid form that all students must file if they wish to be considered for any type of financial aid. The forms are available online by going to www.fafsa.ed.gov or by linking though www.finaid.org. Make sure to check each school’s deadline. You and your parents will need a PIN (personal identification number) in order to file the FAFSA online. www.pin.ed.gov
CSS Profile – This is a financial aid form produced by the College Board. Many private colleges and universities require this form in addition to the FAFSA. These forms will be available in September at www.collegeboard.com and the deadline varies according to the colleges to which you are applying.
College forms – Some colleges and universities will have their own financial aid form to be completed in addition to the other forms. The deadline is typically the same as the application deadline.
Financial Aid Websites:
Here are a few of our favorite financial aid websites. Remember to look at the college or university's financial aid website.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau - This is a great resource for families. The website covers financial aid guides and terms, comparing financial aid offers, and repaying loans.
The College Solution Blog - Lynn O'Shaughnessy is a financial journalist, best-selling author, blogger, consultant, public speaker, and mother. She represents many perspectives in her writings on admissions and financial aid.
CSS Profile - The online first step of the financial aid form required by many selective colleges.
FAFSA Online - The Department of Education's site with online FAFSA.
FastWeb - Probably the biggest and best search site on the web for scholarship information. You do have to register, but it is free.
Federal Student Aid- This is a must visit resource for anyone interested in applying for financial aid.
FinAid - Probably the best site for information on all aspects of financial aid. Loans, grants, estimators; if it has to do with financial aid, it is probably here.
WUE - The WUE program offers great deals for qualified Hawaii students at public universities in the Western United States. Hawaii students are eligible for in-state tuition plus 50 percent for many of the academic programs at WUE schools.
Financial Aid Publications