The college financing process can be stressful, partly due to the unknown, and partly due to being unfamiliar with financial aid terminology, such as the many acronyms associated with financial aid. Frustration is common as families try to navigate through the financial aid process ~ forms, acronyms, deadlines, more acronyms, more forms ~ all necessary parts of the financial aid process, however confusing and overwhelming to many.
Prior to writing Financial Aid Sense, a practical guide about financial aid, a focus group comprised of parents and high school personnel was held in order to get important feedback about the needs of families with related to college financing. Participants were asked to share their thoughts on the topic of “financial aid.” One of the recurring themes that parents and school administrators shared was that the financial aid process is overwhelming, that it is difficult to keep track of all the related tasks and deadlines, and that it is challenging to sift through all the different resources available. Parents were encouraged to share their ideas for tools that could support them and create a smoother experience during the college financing process. Parents suggested that a “financial aid workbook” would be helpful; essentially parents described a publication that would serve two functions. The first goal is to provide a clear overview of the most important aspects of financial aid written in an easy to understand format. The second purpose of the “financial aid workbook” would be to provide pertinent planning tools and “worksheets” that families could use as a resource when navigating through the process themselves. Parents were very clear that they wanted a guide that highlighted the most important information on the financial aid process in a “one-stop shopping” type of approach, essentially a guide to follow along in, make notes, and use as a reference throughout the entire financial aid process. After hearing this from so many parents, it was decided to develop a resource: a practical guide complete with pertinent and timely tools to help navigate through the entire financial aid process.
Although good information about financial aid is certainly available from financial aid offices, state agencies, the U. S. Department of Education, and various online sites, Financial Aid $ense was created with the clear purpose of providing a workbook-type guide replete with helpful tips, action items, and planning tools that also provides a step-by-step guide through the entire process, beginning with the financial aid application process, scholarship search, award letter comparison, determination of bottom line costs, strategy for paying the bill, and loan comparison guidelines and planning tools. By bringing many resources together in an easy to follow format, it breaks down a complex process so that you can better understand the different aspects of the financial aid process. The worksheets that are included should assist you in figuring out the specifics of your individual college financing plan. The best way to learn is by doing, so it is hoped that you will make full use of the templates this guide has to offer.
College financing can be complicated! Financial Aid Sense can help you along the way!
Read what other readers said about this helpful financial aid guide! 50% of revenues from book sales are donated to the National GRACE Foundation which works tirelessly to help pediatric cancer patients and survivors with the college planning processes.