We’ve made it through the first quarter and the boys are still busy with the college process; either searching, applying, or waiting patiently for an acceptance letter. Now comes the fun part, how to pay for it. Each individual college awards scholarships and grants. You will be notified upon your son’s acceptance at the college if he qualified for any of these. I also suggest that you speak with the financial aid officer at your son’s top choice to better understand and to get more information about that particular college’s financial aid.
Also, to begin the process for applying for financial aid, you must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (www.fafsa.ed.gov). Do this as soon as you file your 2010 taxes. The FAFSA is now all on-line. In order to complete this, you must first go to www.pin.ed.gov to get a PIN for both you and your son. Once you receive your PIN (you will receive your PIN within a few days) you can then complete the FAFSA. You should complete this as soon as your tax forms are available. To make this a bit more confusing and involved, some colleges not only require the FAFSA, they may also want the CSS (College Scholarship Service) Profile. You can search for this at www.collegeboard.com for more complete information. This form should be completed no later than early February. The FAFSA is used to disperse federal money while the Profile is usually used to distribute institutional funds. Scholarship deadlines are coming up soon as well for individual schools. One other suggestion for searching for scholarships: www.fastweb.org. This is the best college scholarship search engine out there.
Unfortunately, most colleges and universities do not provide financial aid for international students. A website that I recommend to international students that lists colleges and universities offering aid to international students is: www.internationalstudent.com/schools_awarding_aid/
If you have any questions, please call or email me. Good luck!