In many of my meetings with families, Financial Aid is clearly an area where many are confused about the process. Planning for how you will pay for college is something families should begin to think about and discuss as soon as 9th grade in many cases. A good place to start is by looking at each college's website that your child is considering and checking out their "Net Price Calculator." While this won't be 100% accurate, it can give you a good idea of what MIGHT be expected to be paid in the future. If you're a Senior (Class of 2024), plan to apply for financial aid this fall (FAFSA opens Oct 1). I recommend completing it before the end of the calendar year, if possible. This requires some planning and getting at least the majority of your taxes completed or at least a solid estimate completed in time to finish the application. Don’t forget; there are MILLIONS of dollars out there that you may qualify for – don’t leave money on the table! If you are applying to private colleges or universities, many will require an additional application called a CSS PROFILE. Make sure to fill this out AFTER you complete the FAFSA.
***Junior families (Class of 2025), this is a good reminder to think ahead and finish all of your tax paperwork squared away in 2023 for when you apply in 2024 since FAFSA uses the "Prior-Prior Year."
Here are some of my favorite financial aid resources:
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