College Financial Aid
Now that your son is applying to college, it is time to figure out how you will pay for it. We understand that, for some families, this can not only be a source of stress, but may also play a significant role in your son’s college choice. You should discuss college financing with your son at the start of the process; set expectations early and be willing to assist him in applying for need based financial assistance. You can estimate your expected family contribution (EFC) for college using a net price calculator like the one here. Net price calculators are also available on all college and university financial aid websites. While results may vary from school to school, this will give you a big picture idea of whether your family will be eligible for need based aid. If you are eligible for need-based aid, we encourage you to apply for it at any school to which your son might be applying. If it is clear, however, that you will not qualify for need-based aid, our recommendation is that you do not apply for it. Our office is here to help with this part of the process as much, or as little, as your family would like.
There are two types of financial aid that a student may receive: merit based and need based.
- Merit based aid is awarded to students independent of financial need and is generally awarded for a student’s academic achievement or some other unique talent (athletics/music). It comes directly from colleges and universities, though not all school’s offer it. Typically all students are considered for merit aid if a school does offer it, regardless of whether or not they have applied for need based aid. Check the financial aid webpages of the schools to which your son is applying for further information.
- Need based financial aid is based solely on a family’s ability to pay for college and comes from three main sources: (1) the federal government; (2) the colleges that your student decides to apply to; and (3) private/independent scholarships. Need based aid is only awarded to students who apply and qualify for it.
For more information about need based financial aid: