To perspective college students and respective guardians:
College education is the next step to a productive and blissful life. The college experience gives students a well-rounded set of skills (interpersonal, academic, work-related), long lasting memories, and connections that last a lifetime. But this 4 year gap of arduous accomplishments and self-improvement comes at a high cost. College cost has increased at a rate of of 5% for the past 10 years and has a projected increase of 3.7% for private schooling and 2.9% for public schooling. But in an era where technological savviness and specialized work is needed for the economy, college education is a must. If you want to join the 33% of the American population that holds and undergraduate degree, reading this page will aid in offsetting the financial roadblock towards an achievement that last a lifetime.
Before we try to understand the financial process, lets visit some basic vocabulary and the sources of Student Aid
Basic Financial Vocabulary
Federal Student Aid
Financial aid from the federal government to help you pay for education expenses at an eligible college or career school. Grants, loans and work-study are types of federal student aid. You must complete the FAFSA to apply for this aid.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid
Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
This is the number that’s used to determine your eligibility for federal student financial aid. This number results from the financial information you provide in your FAFSA®, the application for federal student aid. Your EFC is reported to you on your Student Aid Report (SAR).
Student Aid Report (SAR)
A summary of the information you submitted on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You receive this report (often called the SAR) via e-mail a few days after your FAFSA has been processed or by mail within 7-10 days if you did not provide an e-mail address. If there are no corrections or additional information you must provide, the SAR will contain your EFC, which is the number that’s used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid.
For more information or unfamiliar vocabulary visit
Need Based VS Merit Based
Need based factors correlate correlates with a student’s financial need. Example: A need-based grant might be awarded based on a student’s low income. Merit Based factors correlate with a student’s skill or ability. Example: A merit-based scholarship might be awarded based on a student’s high grades.
College Funding Sources
Potential one of the most difficult ones since there are so many of them and each of them have a different criteria. Some scholarships are so general (little conditions), that it makes you worry that many people are going to apply. While others have very specific requirements (son of an alumni, graduated from a high-school, enrolled in a program, disabilities). This abundance of scholarships makes private scholarships very overbearing, therefore many students neglect this oportunities. The best way of approaching this scholarships are:
-Getting a professor that could critique your writing if an essay is required, and that is willing to write a couple of recommendation letter
-Get a calendar system where you can write down systematic deadlines and personal deadlines
-Avoid doing a whole scholarship application in one sitting. The thought of uncertainty of getting the scholarship may be overbearing. Do not give up, take a break for a couple of days and come back to it with a new mindset
-Obtained a copy (electronic copy recommended – scanned copies also good) of your Tax Return, W-2 or FAFSA and put it in a safe accessible location (A USB). This documents can be used to proof financial need.
There are multiple Scholarship Search Engines were you can create an account and submit your scholarship criteria. This website will send you weekly or daily emails of potential scholarships.
An award provided by the federal, state, school or a private organization that provides college tuition money that does not have to be paid back. Eligibility to most grants are determined by FAFSA. The most common grants are listed in the following link
Students seeking a career in education or those affiliated with the military can receive further grants through the FSEOG, IACH, and TEACH grants
Students from underfunded high school and with extreme low income can receive the Govern’s Scholarship
Loans are monetary contracts were money is obtained and has to be repaid in the future with interest. The federal government provides subsidized and unsubsidized loans at a very low interest rates. The amount that can be obtained from this federal loans is capped and is dependent on financial need. A third federal loan, the Parental plus Loan, is available for dependent students (have a guardian) with a bit higher interest rates. All federal loans must be paid within six months in small doable monthly payments of ending schooling, regardless of obtaining a degree or not. The last option is a private loan with a private company. These loans have the highest interest rates and should be the last resort for college funding.
Public Colleges provide a special tuition fee for residents of their states on local towns. The cost discrepancy between in-state and out-state changes across colleges. In addition, there are inter-state programs that also provide a separate cost. For example, the New England Regional Student program provides a cost higher than in-state tuition but lower than out-state tuition for students of New England that attend state colleges within New England other than their respective one (Example: A Vermont resident attending UConn or UMass).
The cancellation of all or some portion of your remaining federal student loan balance. If your loan is forgiven, you are no longer responsible for repaying that remaining portion of the loan.
Most colleges provide an online calculator that gives a rudimentary estimate of how much loans and money will be needed to attend the school. This calculators usually account for financial need, UConn grants further grants based on GPA, school standing, involvement, leadership, and sports.