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Pay­ing for Col­lege With­out Break­ing the Bank: The Ulti­mate Stu­dent, Par­ents, and Edu­ca­tor Guide to Over 500 Live Links to Finan­cial Aid and Schol­ar­ship Resources

Paying For College CoverPay­ing for Col­lege With­out Break­ing the Bank: The Ulti­mate Stu­dent, Par­ents, and Edu­ca­tor Guide to Over 500 Live Links to Finan­cial Aid and Schol­ar­ship Resources  by Chris­tine M. Hand Gon­za­les, Ed.D.

Avail­able in eBook for $4.99 and paper­back for $9.99! Click here for Ama­zon. Also on

Pay­ing for Col­lege With­out Break­ing the Bank takes you through the col­lege plan­ning time­line and the finan­cial aid appli­ca­tion process along with addi­tional tips and resources. It will show ways to approach coun­selors, teach­ers, or mod­er­a­tors to request an effec­tive let­ter of rec­om­men­da­tion, and give tips on self-marketing through the schol­ar­ship appli­ca­tion essays. It will help you:

  • Cal­cu­late the actual costs of college
  • Increase your chances of receiv­ing aid
  • Com­pare aid offers and learn how to appeal if needed
  • Plan strate­gi­cally as an inde­pen­dent stu­dent or divorced or sin­gle parent
  • Avoid costly mis­takes when applying
  • Learn tips for com­plet­ing the required fed­eral form, the FAFSA
  • Under­stand the “nuts and bolts” of finan­cial aid, and where to find scholarships
  • Access an exten­sive and incom­pa­ra­ble list of pub­li­ca­tions and Inter­net resource

Click here for free down­loads Read­ing Apps from Ama­zon for PC, Mac, iPad, and other devices for Kin­dle Ver­sion. Click here for free down­load Read­ing Apps from Barnes and Noble for PC, Mac, iPad and other devices for Nook Version.

How Do I Appeal My Financial Award?

Congratulations, you were admitted to your college of your dreams! Next you receive a letter of notification from the financial aid/scholarships office. If you did not receive the award you expected, you may need to make an appeal. Follow these steps to appeal for more funds:
1. Contact the aid office and ask them what procedure you should follow to appeal for more financial assistance. Visit the office in person if time is on your side.

2. A “financial appeal” is when you attempt to demonstrate that with your current level of income and assets, you can’t afford to pay the total cost of attendance for the first year. Ask the aid counselor to recalculate the initial Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Be sure to share any new information as well as all supporting documents including income verification, an update on asset holdings, a list of unusually high expenses, a description of special circumstances, etc. This new data could bring your EFC more in line with what you can afford. See more ways to appeal your financial award.

Do You Know How to Decipher the Financial Aid Award Letter?

piggy bankThe amount of correspondence your student gets from colleges can be staggering. Before they’re even accepted you’ll be getting mountains of brochures, pamphlets, and other marketing materials. Then, once they do get in, even more information gets sent your way: housing forms, deposit slips, acceptance letters, campus information, and more.

There is one piece of mail you’ll be getting that should be studied carefully, since it will have a pretty big impact on your wallet. That is the financial aid award letter. Be aware that some colleges are moving towards electronic award letters. This means that rather than getting an envelope in the mail, you get login instructions in an email for the college’s website. Keep in mind that lots of email is sent to your student, so keep an eye on their account as well. Click here to read more on deciphering award letters.

Seniors, Remember to Submit Your F.A.F.S.A.

Apply for Federal Student Aid — Fast track to FAFSA

Introducing the FAFSA:  Let the Funds Begin

Getting financial aid starts with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA.

By filling it out, you apply for the U.S. Department of Education’s federal student aid programs, the largest source of student aid in America. In many cases, you’re also automatically applying for funds from your state and your school as well.

Who It is for:  See If You Are Eligible

You might be eligible if all of these apply to you:

  • You are a U.S. citizen or eligible non citizen
  • You are a high school graduate or GED holder
  • You are working toward a degree or certificate in an eligible program
  • You are not in default on a federal student loan and do not owe money to the government related to other grants or loans

See if you are eligible by reading more here.

Need-based versus Merit-Based Financial Aid

It is important to understand how to get the most money from the colleges a student is applying to, as aid can be need-based or merit-based.

Need-Based Aid is based on the family’s financial need. A family can figure this amount to be the Cost of Attendance (COA) form the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

Points to understand about Need-Based Aid:

Information from the Free Application for Federal School Aid (FAFSA) is needed. Other colleges may require completion of the CSS Financial Profile; Grants do not need to be repaid; Loans will need to be paid with interest; Other types of Need-Based Aid include Work-Study Programs, Perkins Loan and Subsidize Stafford Loan, and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG). Learn more about Merit-Based financial aid.

Understanding the Federal Work-Study Programs

Will you be working while studying at your college under the Federal Work-Study (FWS) program? Many institutions throughout the United States participate and include FWS programs as a part of the student’s financial aid package.

BEFORE you choose this option, there are some things you need to understand:

1. A Federal Work-Study award may be a job offered on or off campus.

The Federal Work Study Program (FWS) is a federal financial aid job program regulated by the federal government. Colleges can award FWS funds based on financial need as calculated by the U.S. Department of Education from information reported on the student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Read more about FWS by clicking here.

Completed your FAFSA? Three Things to Do While Waiting for Those Award Letters

Waiting roomToday you are in

“a most useless place.

The Waiting Place . . .

Waiting for the fish to bite  .  . .

or Another chance.

Everyone is just waiting.”1

All your college applications have been turned in.  Your financial aid forms have been submitted.  You are in what Dr. Seuss refers to as “The Waiting Place.” Waiting for the colleges to which you applied to let you know – yes, no or wait listed.

“The Waiting Place” is a great place to stop and acknowledge your accomplishments over the past 4 years.  You have successfully navigated one of the most challenging times of your life so far – high school. And in the 4 months between September and December, you added to your already full plate – multiple college applications and essays, college visits, college interviews on top of all your senior classes and activities. Congratulations, you have much for which to be commended.  And now what should you do now that you’ve submitted your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?

Welcome to “The Waiting Place” Read more- click here.