Adventures in Education: Planning for college
College Answer: Information on financial aid options, preparing and paying for college, scholarship search engines, links for financial aid calculators, and more.
College Board Online: Information about planning for college, picking the right school for you, filling out an application, paying for college, and SATs.
CollegeToolkit.com: Scholarship search and online applications.
U.S. Department of Education Discretionary Grants: description of discretionary grant application packages
Edudemic: Free rankings of more than 180 online colleges, based on performance and effectiveness.
eStudentLoan.com: Comparison of student loans and offers financial aid information.
FAFSA: Detailed information about FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), including how to fill it out and file online.
OnlineColleges.Net: Parental Support for College Students – Helpful resources including Choosing a College, a guide to federal loans, and how parents can provide emotional support for their children while they are attending college.
U.S. Department of Education: Financial aid primer from U.S. Department of Education and the Office of Student Financial Assistance Programs; includes information about Pell grants, Stafford loans, PLUS loans, Federal Work Study, etc.
Glossary of Commonly Used Terms
Cost of Attendance (COA): the tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies, transportation, personal and miscellaneous expenses incurred by the average family in an academic year. The COA varies with each college or university.
Expected Family Contribution (EFC): the amount that has been calculated as the family portion to contribute based on the family and the students’ income and assets. The EFC is the same, regardless of the college or university the student attends.
Financial Aid Award: the amount that will typically contain a mixture of grants or scholarships, called gift aid, and loans and student employment, called self-help aid, and must either be repaid or earned.
Federal Work-Study: campus-based employment that is allocated on student needs and availability of funds. Students work 12 to 20 hours per week, are paid at least minimum wage and receive a check at least once a month. The money is used to pay incidental expenses.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): the form necessary to apply for federal and state grants, loans and student employment programs. A FAFSA is filed each year that a student wants to apply for aid. It is never necessary to pay for this to be submitted.
Institutional Grants and Scholarships: awards that are specific to each institution and based on criteria determined by that institution. A list of those available is usually in the catalog or at the Web site and can range from $100 up to the cost of tuition.
Need for Financial Aid: is calculated by subtracting the EFC from the COA. This is the ceiling of all grants, loans and/or student employment funds you can receive. Because the COA can vary, so, too, can the financial aid you are awarded from school to school.