Hello all young and old! My name is Jerry Goss and I am the first-ever Financial Wellness Ambassador at Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering. I’m here to help Olin with the HOPES (Helping Oliners Plan Economic Success) financial wellness program, but this blog isn’t exactly directed to Oliners. This post is just some of my insights on the financial aid process and questions that I feel were useful in applying to and affording college.
Financial aid is a tricky and complicated thing that students have to navigate when applying to and going to college. Colleges are generally aware of their cost of attendance, but they’re also aware of financial aid, which is something that you should be aware of as well. This is why financial aid is available: so that resources can be given to students to make their college education affordable.
I have a list of questions that are generally useful, or at least were useful for me while applying to college. You’ll find the financial aid application process noticeably easier if you know what you need to do and what questions to ask if you need help. Note that these questions are not a cure-all for financial aid worries, but merely me sharing what I feel helped me.
- What forms do I need to fill out to receive financial aid, and what are the deadlines?
- What if I don’t think I’ll qualify for financial aid?
- What does EFC (“Expected Family Contribution”) mean, and how does it relate to my financial aid package?
- What forms of financial aid are offered in a financial aid package here? (grants, scholarships, loans, etc.)
- How much financial aid is offered in the form of loans, and what kinds of loans are they?
- What are some of the pros and cons of different loans that I should be aware of?
- How are private or external scholarships treated?
- What if my family can’t afford the difference between the cost of attendance and (non-loan) aid?