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Paying for College

What Is Financial Aid

"86.4% of first-time, first-year undergraduate students receive financial aid in some form.

Hanson, Marie, "Financial Aid Statistics", August 15, 2021,

Financial aid is probably is the most important factor in making a decision about a college. Even if you think you are not eligible, apply. You have nothing to lose, and a lot to gain.

Although some schools have different procedures and forms, most schools require you to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and many the College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile.

What Is FAFSA?
All students are expected to contribute towards the cost of their college education. How much you and your family will be expected to contribute depends on your financial situation—and is what is referred to as your Expected Family Contribution or EFC.

The (FAFSA) is the form used by the U.S. Department of Education to determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) by conducting a “need analysis” based on financial information, such as income, assets and other household information, which you (and your parents if you are adependent student) will be asked to provide.
FAFSA is the application used by nearly all colleges and universities to determine eligibility for federal, state, and college-sponsored financial aid, including grants, educational loans, and work-study programs.

What is CSS Profile?
CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE®is the financial aid application service of the College Board.More than 600 colleges, universities, graduate and professional schools and scholarship programs use the information collected on the PROFILE to determine eligibility for nonfederal student aid funds. The PROFILE is a fully Web-based application system that provides students a secure and efficient method for reporting their financial data to higher education institutions.