Navigating the college search and application process can be overwhelming for any family and paying for college can seem like an impossible task. Fortunately, there are lots of resources out there to help families better understand and complete this daunting process. For this blog post we are sharing a few of our favorite College Access and Financial Aid websites. Enjoy!
College for All Texans – http://www.collegefortexans.com
College for All Texans is a comprehensive guide to the entire college selection and enrollment process aimed specifically at Texas students and families. In addition to providing tips for selecting colleges of interest and completing applications, College for All Texans provides a detailed description of all state and federal financial aid programs available to Texas students.
This site, run by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating board, should be the first stop for students and families.
KnowHow2Go - http://www.knowhow2go.org/main_4steps.php
This site, run by the Lumina Foundation and the American Council on Education, is really aimed at students. With a casual tone that appeals to students as young as middle school, the KnowHow2Go site makes the case for college and outlines four steps to getting there: 1) Be a pain, 2) Push yourself, 3) Find the right fit, and 4) Put your hands on some cash.
KnowHow2Go has a great balance of academic and financial preparation tips for students, making it a great starting point for any student thinking about college.
Finaid - http://www.finaid.org/
Finaid.org is a site focused on helping students and families pay for college. The site provides resources to younger students and families who are interested in starting savings accounts as well as tools to estimate college costs. Additionally, the site provides a great scholarship search and a detailed description of the different types of Federal loans available to college students.
This site is run by Monster.com and is helpful to families in all stages of planning for college.
The College Board - http://collegeboard.org/
The College Board, a non-profit organization most well known for administering the SAT tests, is dedicated to increasing college access and opportunity for students from all backgrounds. A large portion of this site offers insight into preparing for college academically and taking admissions tests. The Pay for College section of the site provides a scholarship search, resources for families looking to save for college, and a link to the net price calculator.
The Net Price Calculator (NPC) (http://netpricecalculator.collegeboard.org/) is a standardized way to compare costs at various institutions for your family. The NPC asks a few questions about your family’s finances and then provides a reasonable estimate of what you would be expected to pay. This is an essential tool for students and families as they consider different institutions.
Student Aid on the Web - http://studentaid.ed.gov/
This website, run by the Department of Education, provides information on all Federal Student Aid programs along with detailed information about repaying student loans. This site allows students and families to set up a personal account to keep track of scholarship and loan applications. Additionally, this site provides a direct link to the FAFSA website, which allows families to complete, update, or check on the status of a FAFSA.