Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most common questions I hear from families like your’s going through the process.

Q: Many parents think they cannot afford to send their child to an expensive private school, is that true?
A: Absolutely not!

Q: How does the government and the system exactly calculate the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and the Family Contribution (FC)?
A: The government and the system will ask for personal family information which will include income and assets, student income and assets, and will then crunch the numbers into the appropriate formula. Unfortunately, many colleges will ask for much more in the way of personal information that does not have to be disclosed. Since the majority of families are unaware of this situation they will willingly disclose unnecessary information that will ultimately hurt their financial aid award.

Q: When are the financial aid forms filed?
A: The forms should be filed immediately after January 1 of the year a student will be attending college. However since colleges have different deadlines and procedures, many families will procrastinate in filing at the appropriate time causing them to receive less financial aid.

Q: I have the option to file my financial aid forms via the mail or internet, which is the best way to do it?
A: Many colleges and the system in general encourage the filing over the internet. Unfortunately, many students do not know that the effect of doing this has various negative consequences.

Q: Who is eligible for federal financial assistance?
A: Everyone! However, some programs are more beneficial than others and knowing the difference can provide you with more benefits.

Q: Generally speaking, is it easier to get into a state or private school?
A: Both. Some state schools are more highly competitive than others; the likewise is also true with private schools. Knowing which schools match your academic profile can save you thousands.

Q: Can a reasonably intelligent person properly apply for financial aid and understand the system when they go through it?
A: Unfortunately not. The majority of families will make an average of three to five mistakes on each financial aid form and since the system and/or the colleges will not correct their mistakes the result is less financial aid. (The key in filling out financial aid forms is the correct interpretation of the question.)

Q: What are third party scholarship search companies and why are they of questionable value?
A: These organizations will solicit a family and tell them that for a fee they will offer a list of scholarships that can be applied for and will state that they guarantee scholarship money from these sources. Unfortunately, this is NOT the case. (Remember, less that one percent of financial aid offered to students comes from these sources.)

Q: Why should I apply to at least six different colleges, if not more?
A: Applying to six or more colleges works in your favor for various reasons including financial aid and academics. It is to your advantage to pursue this strategy.

Q: Does the average family, or any family, need professional guidance when proceeding through the financial aid process?
A: If the family wishes to obtain optimum financial benefits, save time, and reduce the amount of stress involved with this process than the answer is undoubtedly yes.