Will I be eligible for need-based financial aid?
To figure out your eligibility, you should first determine your
Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The Free Application for Federal Student
Aid (FAFSA) is used to calculate the EFC. You can estimate your EFC by using
Family Contribution (EFC) Calculator.
Next, determine how much it
will cost to attend the school or schools you are considering.
your EFC from the cost of attendance, and you have the eligibility amount
for need-based funds. To estimate your eligibility online, try the Financial Aid Wizard.
Jim Kolesar is a spokesman for Williams
College, a private liberal arts school in Williamstown, Massachusetts. He
says that it's almost always a good idea for families to fill out the FAFSA, if they think there's a chance they can qualify
for need-based aid.
In addition to completing the FAFSA, students applying
to one of the approximately 400 colleges and universities in the U. S. that
also use the CSS Profile should also file that form. The CSS Profile is used
by these colleges and universities to identify students who may need financial
aid that is not identified by the FAFSA. For information about the CSS Profile, visit
"Students should definitely apply because
Williams and places like it are dedicated to making their college education
affordable for all students of all income ranges," he says. "It's sad the
degree to which families look at a comprehensive fee and are scared off to
think their son or daughter could never attend there."
Williams is one
of a few colleges that has switched to a no-loan policy, out of concern that
loan burdens were affecting students' educational and career choices. The
need-based packages that the school offers involve grants and work-study awards.
parents will choose to borrow anyway, but no one will be expected to borrow
any money in their financial package," he says.