When we talk about finding the right college “match,” we consider financial fit as well as academic and personal fit, and we support students and families throughout the financial aid application process. 

Financial Aid

When we talk about finding the right college “match,” we consider financial fit as well as academic and personal fit. If a student is admitted to a college but cannot afford to attend, no one is well served. We support students and families throughout the financial aid application process. 

BEFORE YOU APPLY

Net Price Calculators: For every college you are considering, it is important to run a Net Price Calculator to get an estimate of the financial aid package you are likely to receive. Colleges are required to offer these calculators on their websites. Not all of these calculators are the same—some will dig deeper than others—and you should complete them for each college you are considering. Each calculator will ask you a series of questions about your family finances and provide an estimate of your financial aid package, including both need-based aid and, if offered, merit aid. Colleges with merit aid will typically ask about GPA and standardized test scores in their Net Price Calculators; do your best to provide an estimate for both of these.

APPLYING FOR AID

“Need Blind” vs. “Need Aware”: Colleges with “need blind” admission policies do not take financial need into consideration when making admissions decisions. “Need aware” colleges do factor aid into their decisions. Not many colleges in the country can operate under a need-blind policy.

Need-Based Aid vs. Merit Aid: Financial aid recipients are awarded aid based on financial need (as determined by the FAFSA and CSS Profile), merit (as defined by the individual college), or some combination of both. There are colleges that will, as a policy, meet 100% of demonstrated need for all of the students they admit. These colleges do not tend to offer merit scholarships on top of this need-based aid.

FAFSA: Almost all colleges and universities work with the federal government in dispersing federal loans to students. A completed FAFSA will determine the estimated contribution your family can make toward tuition (the Estimated Family Contribution, or EFC). Your family’s “need” is defined as the cost of attendance at a college or university minus your EFC. The FAFSA becomes available on October 1. It requires financial documentation from two tax years ago.

CSS Profile: Most private institutions will require the Profile in addition to the FAFSA. This form digs a little more deeply into family finances and it means a college is considering aspects of your financial picture that the FAFSA does not cover. There is a fee to fill out the CSS Profile and it costs additional money to send the information to individual colleges. Fee waivers are available for qualifying families.

RESOURCES

Log in to your uRL account to view a list of merit scholarships.

Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority

College Board

FAFSA

CSS Profile

MyIntuition (Net Price Calculators for a number of colleges all in one place)

US Department of Education Resources

The SmartStudent Guide to Financial Aid

Mapping Your Future

U.S. Dept. of Ed. College Affordability and Transparency Center

Federal School Codes

Compare Your Financial Aid Awards