Paying for College 101: Introduction

By Patricia Gorden Neill - April 23rd, 2013

This is the worst part of the entire gearing up for college experience. College-bound students and their parents must fill out reams of financial aid forms, meet strict deadlines and attempt to figure out exactly what they can afford to pay for a college education. It’s complicated, stressful and frustrating, but it can be done, rest assured, and is done by millions of families every year. Like all complicated things, it can be broken down into baby steps, and taken one by one will eventually equal success. Through this process, you will discover how to cut the costs of your college education into something you can manage.

Our section on college financial aid provides articles on every main component of such aid, the FAFSA, CSS profile, grants, scholarships, work-study programs and student loans. We introduce you and your parents to the enchanting acronyms and financial terms you’ll need to know. We have advice on filling out the FAFSA and CSS profiles and why you need to do it. We cover applying for grants and scholarships, the main ones to look for, the oddball ones you never heard of and what you need to know to apply for this wonderful “free” money. We discuss student loans and the current ugly student debt situation and proffer advice on how to limit your student debt, some of which will include hard work on your part, but quite a few not so hard ways to limit debt as well.

We also present many alternative ways to pay for college, ideas you can use to earn money or reduce the overall cost of college. Some of these alternatives are sound and practical steps to take, some are a bit wacky and weird but workable.

Search through the articles you find in this section. By the time you’re done reading, thinking and applying the many tips, you’ll have achieved an education on college financial aid, learning how to manage all the forms and deadlines. You will understand the lingo and be able to knowledgeably sling around the terms and acronyms like a pro.

While college financial aid may seem like a murky and dangerous mine field, it really isn’t. Students want to attend college and colleges want and need students to come to their school. Financial aid helps to make that happen in a way that works for both parties. Yes, there’s a lot of filling out of forms and many mathematical formulas to work out, but it is all for a good cause, to enable you to attend a college of your choice and be able to afford it.

Start reading and join in the search for ways to cut college costs down to something you can manage. With the help of AcademicInfo, you’ll begin to find college financial aid cut down to size, no longer intimidating and scary, just a series of steps that you and your parents can easily take. The process may not be as enjoyable as other endeavors, but you’ll feel great once you’ve cut the cost of a college education into an affordable investment.

About the Author

Patricia Gorden NeillPatricia Gorden Neill edited medical and scholarly journals for over 20 years in the ivy-covered halls of the University of Rochester. She is a freelance writer, often covering higher education and the concerns of college age students, and is regularly published on a variety of websites.