Financial Aid Guide

Families today must face the fact that sending kids to college is more expensive than ever. And if that concept overwhelms you, you are not alone! But like many challenges in life, if you plan ahead and break the process down into bite-sized pieces, creating a strategy to fund your education will become more manageable.

There is no doubt that a college education is incredibly valuable in our society. Kids who go to college have a better chance at becoming professional, marketable adults who are highly compensated in their careers. College broadens a young adult’s life experience, often providing them the first chance to live on their own and establish their independence. And college is fun! (Once you get past the “can we afford this?” part.)

For some families, the only workable financial solution is for parents and children to split the costs of college. That is common, and it’s okay. However, it’s important to have a discussion with your parents about any expectations they have for shared expenses before you start school. This will help you avoid any mid-semester money scrambles that will cause stress for all involved.

The rest of this guide will take you through Five Steps that outline how to get the money you need for college. You’ll find information about scholarships and grants, a primer on FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), and key information about federal and private education loans. And as a wrap-up, you’ll find an easy-to-use timeline to help you make sure you’ve got your bases covered.