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With the rising costs of college, it is almost impossible to cover the expenses without some form of financial aid.  The process of knowing what to apply for, and where to apply, can be mind boggling for many.  Luckily, there are many on-line resources to help one figure out the financial aid process.  


FAFSA:  The FIRST and most important site to know in any financial aid search is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA.) So many other financial aid options are determined by FAFSA.  It can be a lengthy process to get through and can be a bit complicated - but it is must do if one wants to qualify for any financial aid assistance.  


FAFSA - completing the form

Provides an overview of the FAFSA form and the application process with a walk-through of each application question.

expected-family-contribution-calculator: Students and their families are expected to contribute to the cost of college to the extent that they’re able. This site from College Board will allow you to: estimate how much your family will be expected to contribute for the year and gain insight into your financial aid eligibility. If you’re unable to contribute the entire cost of college, financial aid is available to bridge the gap. That's how the financial aid system works. The difference between the total cost and the student's EFC is considered the student's financial need and the amount of aid you’re eligible to receive. is a great resource from the US Department of Education.  It covers such important topics as: How do I prepare for college; What types of aid can I get; Do I qualify for aid; How do I apply for aid; and How do I manage my loans.  It is a very user-friendly site and a get starting point.


Way to the Quad and Paula Bishop: Both of these are local (to the Seattle Area) Financial Aid Experts.  Sometimes it is worth paying for an experts.  If you think you may qualify for Financial Aid, their help may be worth thousands.

Petersons: is a full-range college information site.  It includes a "How to Pay" section that includes a scholarship search, types of loans, college saving plans, Federal Student Aid and work study, ROTC and military aid, as well as state financial aid information.  Although there is plenty of information here, much of the information is basic.  There are some great links to articles they you may find very helpful in your search.   


Go Collegehas a great overview about financial aid on their page.  It answers simple questions such as, "Types of Aid Available" and ""Financial Aid Due Dates and Deadlines."  While this sites looks to be more of a general overview of financial aid options, they offer links to more specific financial aid options and applications.  From their home page, they have direct links to: Free College Grants, College Grants for Women, Low Income Student Grants, Apply for Scholarships.   The real value of this site seems to come from its links.


Big Future: this site is produced by College Board.  Its search engine will narrow down basic information about a student's demographics, ethnic heritage, college goals and specific fields of study they may be interested in majoring in.  It then directs the user to scholarships they may qualify for.  It also focuses on much narrower skill sets, eligibilty requirements, or family military service that may target even more remote scholarships.  


FastWeb: this site is a great search engine that will "compare your background with a database of awards. Only those awards that fit your profile are identified as matches.  There are several free scholarship databases available online, but Fastweb scholarship search is the largest, most accurate and most frequently updated scholarship database. If you supply an email address, they will notify you when new awards that match your profile are added to the database."  This is a great site, but be aware that you have to set up an account with your email address and password before you are able to utilize the search engine.

Open Education Database - Graduate Students:  This is a great site that specializes in scholarships for graduate school.  It clearly lists scholarships that are available for specific groups, i.e. Hispanic Students, Black Students, Military Serviceman.  It is a great resource.


Open Education Database - PHD Students: Similar to the Graduate Student Database, this is a great resource that lists available scholarships for specific groups or students who are pursuing degrees in specific areas.



Financial Aid &


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