MYTH: I can’t afford to go to college.
FACT: College can be an affordable option.
With the rising price tags on colleges and universities, it’s easy to believe that higher education is impossible to attain. Fortunately, it is not only possible to get a college degree, but it can be affordable too! Of course, it’s a good idea to apply for as many scholarships as possible (look out for an upcoming blog on scholarships!), but schools also offer financial aid packages for eligible students. This means that the “list price” of any school may be a lot higher than what you will be expected to pay! So, before you dismiss the idea of going to college, apply for financial aid at schools you would like to attend. Once you get your financial aid packages from the schools you were accepted to, compare them and see which school is actually the cheapest. You may be surprised to find out that you only have to pay a fraction of the original cost!
Every school expects you to fill out different paperwork to apply for financial aid. But, there are a few things that most (if not all) schools require:
- FAFSA: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid: You must fill out the FAFSA every year (including the year you are applying to colleges) to receive financial aid from your college or university. You must complete the free online application. Be mindful of the deadline! The earlier you complete the FAFSA and the other forms required from your school, the more money you will probably get. Click here to get started on the FAFSA and learn more about it:
- CSS/PROFILE: Some schools require that you fill out the CSS/PROFILE as well. Unfortunately, you do have to pay a fee to complete this application. You also must have a collegeboard.com account, which is not only free, but also required to register for the SAT. Click here for more information.
To learn more about financial aid, the different packages offered by public and private schools, and for FREE help filling out the FAFSA, met with a College Student Coach this Saturday!* Also, take advantage of the following events and resources:
- FAFSA Completion Workshops: The Office of High School Reform and PHEAA are offering FAFSA completion assistance in various local schools throughout the city. Click here for details.
- Free Tax and FAFSA Completion: The Campaign for Working Families is offering free tax and FAFSA completions. For more information, call 311 or visit phillyfreetaxes.org.
*College Student Coaches are available to assist you workshops every Saturday at the following Free Library locations: Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library, Parkway Central Library, Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional Library, Northeast Regional Library, and the Widener Branch. For more details, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215-686-5372 on weekdays between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Tell Us: Does the cost of a college or university deter you from applying? Why or why not?