Applying to College? Start with Financial Aid

A college’s financial aid policy isn’t usually the first thing students consider when looking for colleges. Students look at the programs offered, the location, the school’s reputation and campus culture. They usually think of the schools they apply to as either “reach” schools or “safety” schools.
Carol Stack and Ruth Vedvik, authors of The Financial Aid Handbook: Getting the Education You Want for the Price You Can Afford, recommend that students consider two more important categories: funded and unfunded. “Funded” colleges and universities are the ones that will give you a significant amount of scholarship money and “unfunded” colleges are the ones that won’t. Vedvik and Stack make a strong argument for not applying for unfunded programs, regardless of a school’s reputation.
Stack and Vedvik have written a book not only to help students find financial aid, but to also pick the colleges that will provide financial aid. As both tuition and student debt rise, this advice could not be more timely.
The Financial Aid Handbook covers both government and collegiate aid, expected family contributions, student debt, private loans and merit scholarship. There’s also advice for students who have already been accepted to college and are now starting to realize that they will need help covering the costs of tuition. The tone is easy to follow and the advice is straightforward, making this book a great resource for any college-bound student who’s worried about paying for college.

The Financial Aid Handbook is available here.
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