COUNSELOR CONNECTION

FINANCIAL AID--You Can't Get It If You Don't Apply!

College is expensive--that's not exactly breaking news. What you may not know, however, is that families rarely pay "sticker price", especially if their student attends a private college. In order to find out what type of financial aid you may qualify for, you must: apply to the college AND apply for aid. Applying for financial aid is a completely separate process from applying for admission. Both have separate deadlines and require separate forms.

There can be up to three different financial aid forms. The first, the FREE APPLICATION FOR FEDERAL STUDENT AID (FAFSA), can be found online at: http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ This is a free form; if the site you access tries to charge you to process your application, you are on the wrong site! The FAFSA is required by most colleges. Some colleges (particularly selective privates) also require the CSS Profile, which can be found at: www.collegeboard.com There is a fee to send this form to each college that requires it. In addition to these forms, some colleges may also require their own institutional form. Check each college's financial aid page to determine exactly what form(s) you need to send and WHEN they are due.

DEADLINES ARE IMPORTANT. Don't wait to file! If you don't have your 2012 tax return you have the option to estimate on the FAFSA. Once your taxes are filed you can go back in and revise it to record the exact numbers. Aid is a finite resource, so those who qualify AND meet the deadline will get all that they qualify for.

There are three types of financial aid:

* Merit based gift aid

* Need based grants

* Self help aid (federal loans and work study).

You may qualify for any one or a combination of all three.


Scholarships


Now is also the time to research and apply for scholarships! There are many local, state and national scholarships available. You can find out more about possible scholarship opportunities by accessing your Naviance account. Just go to "Colleges" and click on "College Resources".



Got Questions? NHHEAF Has Answers!

NHHEAF will even help you fill out your Financial Aid Forms!

New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation (NHHEAF) is an outstanding FREE resource for New Hampshire residents. The organization's College Planning Center offers free assistance with any question you may have about the financial aid process. You can even schedule an appointment to meet with a college outreach specialist at their Concord NH office for help with your financial aid forms. You can contact NHHEAF at 1-800-525-2577, ext. 119 or through their website: www.nhheaf.org.