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Financial Aid
Finding Money for College


Many high school graduates unfortunately abandon the thought of pursuing a college education because of the tremendous expense involved. Tuition cost continue to skyrocket each year, but there is help available for any student that wants to pursue higher education. This page has been structured to point parents and students in the right direction to find the resources available to receive financial aid, in addition to sites offering sound advice for educational financial planning. Students should also consult their local guidance counselors for financial aid information. Although we hear that many schools offer little or no real assistance in pursuing financial aid, it's still worth the effort to pursue assistance from your local guidance counselor especially concerning state specific grants and financial aid programs.

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College Costs - A Field Guide
How to Apply for Financial Aid

     Applying for financial aid can be a pretty intimidating process. There are forms to fill out, procedures to follow, and deadlines to meet. On top of that, you're probably worrying that you'll make a costly mistake.

     Don't worry! The important thing is to read and follow all directions carefully, meet your deadlines, and ask questions when you aren't sure of something. In the meantime, we hope our College Costs Field Guide will help make the process easier.

  • How do I apply for need-based financial aid?
  • What happens next?
  • What if I don't qualify for financial aid?
  • What if I think I have special circumstances?
  • Appealing your award package
  • Negotiating versus hard-ball bargaining
  • What if I did all that, but I still don't think I can afford college?
  • Deadlines

 Federal Financial Aid Programs

     The federal government is the largest provider of financial aid. In fact, the federal government provided 75 percent of all available student aid in 1994-95, according to the College Board. So it makes sense to know as much as possible about federal financial aid programs and to apply for federal aid before seeking out more exotic financial aid sources.

     The largest and most familiar federal student aid programs are:

  • Federal Pell Grants
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  • Federal Stafford Loans
  • Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) Loans
  • Federal Perkins Loans
  • Federal Work-Study Program

You might also want to learn more about:

  • Federal Direct Student Loan (FDSL) and Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) programs
  • FDSL and FFEL Consolidation loans
  • Loans vs. Grants
  • Federal Campus-based Programs

This site is a tremendous resource for parents seeking information about college cost and financial aid.  We strongly encourage you to visit the site at Finding Financial Aid (excerpt)
Three strategies for getting the best possible deal.
(excerpt) Perhaps the only challenge more daunting than getting into the college of your choice is figuring out how to pay the bills. Just consider: four years of tuition, room and board at the average public college cost about $45,000, according to the latest College Board figures. Four years at a private college can easily exceed $100,000 not even including cash for the occasional late-night pizza.

There's no reason to panic if you don't have that five- or six-figure sum on hand. Fortunately, plenty of financial aid is available; a whopping $64 billion in federal, state and private aid was given out in the 1998-99 school year. To get your fair share, though, you have to know how to play the financial-aid game, which has changed dramatically over the past 10 years. (More)


Wired - a financial aid site run by Sallie Mae, the education loan provider. - Includes a database of over 600,000 Scholarships, Grants, Fellowships, and Internships.

US Department of Education:  Finding Financial Aid

US Department of Education:  Finding Grants and Contracts



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