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So You Got in, Now You Have to Pay for it.

With the rising costs of higher education, being accepted to the school of your choice, is only part of the equation; you have to pay for it as well. "According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2014–2015 school year was $31,231 at private colleges, $9,139 for state residents at public colleges, and $22,958 for out-of-state residents attending public universities." These figures makes college seem very unobtainable for many individuals. The good news is there are many sources of financial aid and scholarships to help offset these costs. For a list of resources to help you in your search, look at my Financial Aid and Scholarships page.

Despite, the source of financial aid you ultimately decide upon, at some point you will need to fill out the FAFSA application. The FAFSA is an "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." You may not qualify for federal aid, but you do qualify for work-study or a Perkins Loan - you will need to submit the FAFSA in order to determine that eligibility. Simply stated, in order for you to qualify for many forms of assistance - either at the federal, state, or university level, you will need to apply for the FAFSA. Since the FAFSA is so critical in the financial aid process, one should be familiar and comfortable in filling it out.

While the FAFSA can be quite time-consuming, it should not be intimidating. There are many tutorials and step-by-step how to's that will walk you through all the individual steps of the application process. I have included a youtube video of one of these guides below. There is also a demo program that will allow you to get comfortable with the application, without actually submitting any of the information. The demo site can be found at http://fafsademo.test.ed.gov. The overall message is, don't get discourage. Yes, college is expensive, but with billions of dollars awarded each year in financial aid and scholarships, undoubtedly there is some for you. You simply have to know how to find it.

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