Many families are understandably concerned about meeting rising college costs. Any candidate for admission to college should apply for financial aid if his or her family feels that they may not be able to pay the entire cost. Early in the senior year students should be sure to check the financial aid deadlines and the forms which are required by each college they are considering. Students should pursue all possible sources of financial aid. Please keep in mind, however, that "financial need" can differ greatly from "financial want."
In December of the student's senior year, seniors and their parents are encouraged to attend a financial aid workshop that is sponsored by the North Shore Counselor Consortium (consisting of Homestead, Nicolet, Shorewood, and Whitefish Bay high schools).
Types of Financial Aid
- Loans (Federal Stafford Loans, Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students - "PLUS", Private Loans)
- Student Employment (Work Study)
FAFSA is the acronym for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is required for anyone wishing to be considered for federal-based loans and other monies at post-secondary schools.
The 2017–18 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) season will begin earlier than previous FAFSA application cycles. Beginning on Oct. 1, 2016, your students will be able to fill out the FAFSA for the 2017–18 school year. (In the past, they had to wait until January 1). In addition, applicants will no longer need to estimate income and tax information and will be able to retrieve their data directly from the IRS, right from the first day the FAFSA is available. Students also will have information about their Expected Family Contributions earlier, helping them as they’re going through the college application and selection process. Below is a link with quick facts and information for students and parents:
The next step is to file an application with FAFSA. Use the banner below to link to this government site. (Warning! The site "FAFSA.com" is a commercial site run by people who charge lots of money for what is free through the government site. Don't use it by mistake!)
(estimates eligibility for federal student aid)
FAFSA WEBINARS ARE NOW AVAILABLE. Everything you need to know about completing the FAFSA. Register today at: www.mygreatlakes.org/fafsa
Scroll down below for details on free help with filling out the FAFSA through College Goal Wisconsin.
The CSS Profile is primarily designed to give private member institutions of the College Board a closer look into the finances of a student and family. It is much more detailed than the FAFSA.
The CSS Profile asks questions about the financial status of the student and the student's parents. The information the student gives in the CSS Profile is then sent to colleges or universities that the student specifies. Along with the FAFSA, the CSS Profile is the most common financial aid application that students in the United States fill out. Each CSS Profile costs a fee, varying from year to year.
Generally, colleges with early acceptance programs (student receives admission decision before the new year) use the CSS PROFILE to make preliminary financial aid decisions because the FAFSA is not available until after January 1. Then after student completes the FAFSA (the official financial aid application) colleges may then make adjustments to their financial aid awards if necessary.
CSS Profile Application
Net Price Calculator
A 2011 federal mandate requires that colleges post a net price calculator on their websites. The calculator allows students to estimate their net price of attendance based on what students with similar circumstances paid in the previous year. These tools are sometimes hard to find within the school websites, so the U.S. Department of Education offers a useful net price calculator search. You simply enter the name of the college you want and you'll be directed to its calculator.
For the purposes of these calculators, net price will be the total cost of one year for a first-time, full-time undergraduate, less any grant and scholarship aid you may receive. The calculator will estimate your eligibility for need-based aid at the school, and may require information from tax returns. Some schools deduct only the estimated federal need-based aid from their totals, while others may include merit awards, state aid and potential loans or work-study programs. Calculators that give families a breakdown of what is included in the net price estimate are the easiest to understand, although this is not a federal requirement.
The bottom line is that colleges you think might be too expensive could actually turn out to be affordable. Do your homework and find out.
**Important financial aid event!**
Learn how to fill out the FAFSA. This is the gatekeeper for grant money, student loans and work-study programs for college. College Goal Wisconsin is a national event that provides free information and assistance to families who are filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), the federally required form for students seeking financial aid, such and grants and loans. Completing the FAFSA is the first and most important step in qualifying for aid. In preparation for families being able to complete the FAFSA after October 1st, College Goal events will be taking place throughout the months of November and January at several locations across the state. Go to the website to view locations and times: http://www.collegegoalwi.org
Fastweb is the Internet's largest free scholarship search service.
Student Aid on the Web
This site has federal, state, and other sources of information. It also contains links to the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission's fraud information.
Sallie Mae is a source for educational loans.
Higher Educational Aids Board
The HEAB is responsible for the management and supervision of the state's student financial aid system for Wisconsin residents attending institutions of higher learning.
This site contains a private sector college scholarship database.
This site contains private sector financial aid information.
A guidebook to help navigate and understand the financial aid process and opportunities.
Personal Financial Literacy---get smart about money, saving, and spending!
The Ultimate Guide to the FAFSA and information about scholarships and student loans.
Ever wonder what it would be like to be out of school and on your own? Play the Check It Out game and find out!
Learn about credit cards and use a student budget calculator to manage and analyze your finances.