Financial Aid Guide

Mountain of paperwork Your college's financial aid officers are probably fantastic. They're smart, talented, knowledgeable... and badly overworked, as evidenced by the lines out the door every semester. As much as they want to, they just don't have the time to sit down with you for an hour to answer your questions about student loans and the financial aid process. is the conversation your school's financial aid administrators would have with you if they had more time and more staff to give everyone an in-depth, personal tour of the world of student aid.

The Financial Aid Process in 4 Steps

  1. Find and apply for scholarships. Scholarships are the best form of financial aid since they're money you don't have to pay back. You can find scholarships for students as young as 10 years old and start saving immediately.
  2. File your financial aid paperwork. This includes your IRS federal tax return, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and depending on the school, the CSS PROFILE.
  3. Apply for federal financial aid. Federal financial aid including federal student loans (such as the Stafford loan and PLUS loan) is a great choice for funding an education.
  4. Apply for private financial aid. Private financial aid including private student loans bridge the gap between all other forms of aid and the final, bottom-line bill. They're a great choice for taking care of last minute expenses and expenses not covered by other forms of financial aid.

College Financial Aid Process »