College is a significant investment in your future. To help you meet the costs of higher education, we offer a six-step tutorial.
Step 1: Determine Cost of Attendance
Learn about the Direct and Indirect Costs
of higher education that go into Determining the Cost of College
Step 2: Paying Options
Now that you have some idea of the cost of college, you can learn more about the many options to help you meet college expenses. Those options include:
Step 3: Complete the FAFSA
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is your starting point for most student financial-assistance programs. Learn about the FAFSA
and application methods, tips, deadlines, and renewal information.
Step 4: Calculate your Expected Family Contribution
Expected Family Contribution is the amount your family is expected to contribute toward your cost of attendance for the school year. To determine your financial need, the school you plan to attend will subtract the EFC figure from the school's cost of attendance. Students and parents can learn about this process by reviewing Understanding Your Expected Family Contribution
. To estimate how much you'll be expected to contribute, you can use the Quick EFC Calculator
Many private colleges, universities, graduate and professional schools require additional forms to determine eligibility for non-federal financial aid, such as an institution's own grants, loans and scholarships. Contact your schools to see if they require additional information. If they do, check out all the details in Completing a CSS/PROFILE.
Step 5: Understand your Financial-Aid Package
If you've applied for financial aid at a school to which you've been accepted, you and your family will receive a letter explaining how much financial support the school is able to provide for the upcoming year. It's important for students and parents to understand what's contained in this Award Letter