Paying for College

  • What are the four types of financial aid?
    1. Grants - money that is given to students, usually because of financial need, that does not need to be repaid.
    2. Scholarships - money that is awarded because of the exceptional academic achievement, a talent or skill, community service, and/or financial need.
    3. Work Study- money a student earns by working at a college job, usually 10-15 hours a week
    4. Loans - money borrowed by students and/or parents that must be repaid.

    What is the FAFSA?
    The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and can be accessed online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. It is required by all schools in the United States to qualify for financial aid and cannot be filed until after January 1st of the senior year.

    What is the CSS Profile?
    The CSS PROFILE is another financial aid application that is required by some private colleges and universities. It can be accessed at student.collegeboard.org/css-financial-aid-profile beginning in October and should be completed by December. Each college has a different submission deadline, please be sure to visit each college's financial aid page to find the deadline.

    What is the difference between need-based and merit-based financial aid?
    Need-based financial aid is awarded to students who do not have sufficient financial resources to pay for college. A student’s academic record is not a factor. Merit-based financial aid is given to students who have outstanding abilities, talents, or accomplishments, regardless of the financial situation of the family. A list of colleges which offer merit aid is available at www.meritaid.com

    Where can I find information on national and local scholarships?
    The Woodstock Academy Counseling Office posts scholarships on the Naviance website. The list may appear small in the fall of the senior year but it will grow considerably as the year goes on. Many of the local scholarships will be posted beginning in February.
    We recommend checking the Naviance website on a regular basis to check on available scholarships for seniors. Applications are available online or through the counseling office. Here is how to access the list on Naviance:
    1. Log into your Naviance account
    2. Click on the "College" tab
    3. Scroll down and click on "scholarship list"

    What is a net price calculator?
    A net price calculator must be posted on every college’s website to provide estimated net price information for prospective students based on individual circumstances. This calculator allows students to estimate the cost of attendance at the school, minus grant and scholarship aid, based on what similar students paid in a previous year. This is a great tool to get a rough idea about how much college may cost.

    What are some tips for finding affordable college options?
    -Make sure your list of colleges includes a financial safety school- a school that meets the student’s academic needs and is affordable.  Many in-state public colleges and universities offer the lowest tuition for residents.
    -Research schools that offer merit scholarships.
    -Consider the New England Regional Student Program “Tuition Break”, an agreement among the New England public colleges and universities to allow students to attend a school that offers a major not available in their home state at a reduced cost.  Go to www.nebhe.org or see a counselor.
    -Investigate honors programs at public colleges and universities where students receive many of the benefits of a private school, such as small classes, research opportunities, and full professors as instructors.
    -Compare the cost of schools in other regions of the country where college and living costs are significantly lower.  Also, -Canada offers high-quality educational institutions at bargain prices for Americans.
    -Think about spending two years at a local public college or community college and then transferring for the final two years.
    -Do not eliminate private colleges from consideration as they often can provide more generous financial aid packages.