Paying for College

Financial aid is available from a variety of sources.  Awards are principally based upon need as determined by filling out the FAFSA and CSS Profile (see links below).  The person best qualified to give information and answer questions is the financial aid officer of the college to which you are applying.  This person will be able to discuss both financial aid as well as college-specific scholarships.

For private scholarships, see the "Scholarship Opportunities" tab on the left-hand toolbar for specific programs that have sent information to FA.  For more comprehensive information, use the links below.

Applying for Financial Aid Step #1:  FAFSA
Applying for financial aid is fairly straightforward. The Free  Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms are available online. In addition to the online application, this site will answer just about any of your questions about the process of applying for financial aid.

Appying for Financial Aid Step #2:  CSS Profile
Many colleges require the College Board's Profile as well as the FAFSA (see above).

Expected Family Contribution Worksheets:

Merit-Based Scholarships
The best place to learn about merit-based scholarships at particular colleges is to contact the colleges themselves. Find phone numbers and web addresses for all colleges and universities to get  you started.

Finding Private Scholarships
SallieMae College Answer has the largest scholarship searches on the web plus college cost calculators and a financial aid section.  It is a free site that will not sell your contact information to a third party.  FA also keeps a list of scholarships opportunities that we receive from organizations. Please click here for that list.

Another Scholarship Search Site
The FastWeb site allows you to search for private scholarships by category--a great way to get a handle on the hundreds of these types of scholarships out there.  You will have to give them basic contact information -- be sure to "uncheck" any offers for mailings if you do not wish to receive them.

A note about private scholarships:  When students receive private scholarship money, many colleges are now reducing the amount of institutional grant (money from the college)  rather than the amount the family owes.  It is a good idea to ask colleges how they handle scholarship funds received, and then determine if it is worth applying for private scholarships.

Recent and Upcoming Professional Development by FA's Director of College Counseling:

10/1/2015 Exploring College Options Event (Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, Penn, Stanford)

11/5/2015-11/6/2015 Hollins Univ. Counselor Advisory Board

4/17/2016-4/19/2016 Potomac and Chesapeake Assoc. of College Admission Counseling Conference

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