hand sticking out of water representing needing help with FAFSA

(This post originally appeared on DIYCollegeRankings.com) In case you haven’t heard, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) became available on October 1st this year. That means that it’s time for high school seniors to fill out the FAFSA.…

2 little kids reading about net price calculators

What does it mean? Colleges provide Net Price Calculators (NPC) so that students can estimate their cost of attendance based on their financial status. Colleges are required to provide an estimate based on the what other students have paid with…

Two little kids reading about need blind admissons

What does it mean? Need-blind admissions means that a colleges does not take into consideration students’ financial aid status when making admission decisions. This is the opposite of need-aware admissions where a college does consider students’ financial need as part…

college student holding money representing colleges that meet 100% of need

As families start to encounter sticker prices during their college search, they are often revived from their state of shock by soothing voices whispering, “it’s ok, it doesn’t include financial aid.” Students and their parents learn the conventional wisdom that…

2 little kids reading about the common data set

What does it mean? The Common Data Set refers to data collected by a group of publishers including US News Best College Rankings, The College Board, Petersons, and Wintergreen Orchard. The data include information that is not part of government…

2 kids reading about financial aid gapping

What does it mean? When students submit their financial aid application, they receive a number they are expected to pay called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). When you subtract the EFC from the total cost of attendance for a specific…

Explainer~What is merit aid?

2 little kids reading about what is merit aid

What does it mean? Merit aid is a type of college financial aid. Colleges provide merit aid as an incentive for select students to attend their institution. Generally, these students have academic qualifications that would contribute to raising the college’s…