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How much I will pay for college?

A Thanksgiving Thought 

 Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.  Brian Tracy   

Keep this thought in mind during the Thanksgiving season. Strive to find a lesson in each of life’s experiences – good and bad – to make you a better and stronger person. 

Happy Thanksgiving from the GuidedPath team


And now for our regularly scheduled post –

How much will I pay for college? 

Paying for college is often compared to paying for airline tickets. No two people pay the same price.  What will your costs be at college? How much you pay for college depends on many factors. Knowing what those factors are, and how college will look at your family’s financial situation, will help you know what the price of your “college” ticket will be. Knowing how it will differ from one college to another will help you compare one college to another. 

Am I eligible for financial aid? 

What do colleges look at to determine how much you pay for college? The FAFSA or the CSS Profile forms are used to determine how much your family can contribute to your college education.  The forms include questions about: 

  • Your parents’ income 
  • Your income (if any) – even babysitting counts 
  • Your parents’ savings or investments 
  • Savings or investments in your name 

What is an “Expected Family Contribution”? 

The data from your FAFSA is used to calculate your “Expected Family Contribution” (EFC).  This is the number is the amount (according to the federal government) that your family should be able to afford to pay for one year of college.  Colleges use this number to determine how much (if any) need-based financial aid you will receive.  

What else is considered? 

Besides income and assets, these factors are also considered: 

  • Your parents’ age. The older they are, the more savings they should set aside to retire. 
  • Size of your family.  Large families need more money to live than small families. 
  • The number of children in college at one time.  If more than one child is enrolled in college simultaneously, the EFC for each child will be less.  Unfortunately, parents enrolled in college don’t count.  

When do I file my financial aid forms? 

Timing is everything when it comes to financial aid. Watch for details about when colleges require the FAFSA or the CSS Profile form to be filed.  Plan to file the FAFSA as early as possible (You can begin to complete your FAFSA as early as October 1). This is the form needed to qualify for financial grants, work-study or student loans from the federal government.  The CSS Profile (a financial aid application by the College Board) may also be required by the college (or a scholarship program). This is the form colleges use to help know who needs money from the college itself. It is their way of distributing their own funds to the students with the most need.  Deadlines for the CSS Profile vary college by college. Check GuidedPath and check college websites for deadlines. 

Take Action   

Financial Aid Updates 

The formula for calculating financial aid is updated every year.  GuidedPath uses the latest tables available in the EFC Calculator.  Use the EFC Calculator to get an estimate of your financial aid eligibility.  Your parents will be glad to know ahead of time what to expect.