College Information

College Information

Why go to college?
Whether you are uncertain about going to college or you just need some reassurance you're on the right track, here are a few reasons to go to college (Provided by ACT):

  • Every bit of education you get after high school increases the chances you'll earn good pay. Most college graduates earn a lot more money during their working years than people who stop their education at high school.
  • The more education you get the more likely it is you will always have a job. According to one estimate, by the year 2028 there will be 19 million more jobs for educated workers than there are qualified people to fill them.
  • Continuing education after high school is much more important for your generation than it was for your parents' generation. Today most good jobs require more than a high school diploma. Businesses want to hire people who know how to think and solve problems.
  • Education beyond high school gives you a lot of other benefits, including meeting new people, taking part in new opportunities to explore your interests and experiencing success.

Financial Aid
Comparing Financial Aid Award Letters

Look carefully at your award letters: Letters from different schools will probably have their figures and costs in different formats. Compare award letters to see how their offers measure up. Ask if outside scholarships will affect your aid.

Compare loan offers: Interest rates, how interest compounds, repayment terms and cancellation provisions can vary widely loan to loan.

Compare affordability of aid offers over time: Ask how your financial aid package will change over time. The aid package made available to you in your senior year may look very different from the one you were offered freshman year.

Look beyond the “sticker price”: The school with the lowest cost of attendance may not be the most affordable. The amount and type of aid offered will influence affordability.

Don’t accept an offer just because it has the lowest “unmet need”: You may save more by accepting an offer with a higher unmet need, if the aid package offers scholarships, grants and work-study instead of loans.

Compare like terms: How do the schools determine cost of attendance? Do they all include direct costs as well as indirect costs? How do they handle outside scholarships? What work-study options are available? What are wages like? Can you substitute work for a loan?

FastWec. Student Bulletin. Feb./ Mar. 2006 High School Edition

Financial Aid Guide: Key Terms Defined

Federal Aid: Aid that comes from the U.S. Government. Usually disbursed through your college.

Gift Aid: Financial aid that does not need to be paid back:
Grants: Typically based on financial need
Scholarships: Typically based on achievement or talent

Loans: Funds that must be paid back later, with interest. Federally-guaranteed loans can be from a private lender (e.g.; a bank) or from the federal government (administered by your college). Private loans are offered by private lenders with terms set by the lender, not the government.

Private Aid: Financial aid from non-government sources.

Basic Loan Terms

Interest: An annual charge for borrowing money, expressed as a percentage of the loan balance. Interest rates are either variable (the rate can change) or fixed (the rate will not change).

Annual percentage rate (APR): The overall cost of borrowing money, expressed as an annual percentage of the loan balance. The APR combines the interest rate with the loan fees and also include the effects of compounding.

Default: Failure to repay your loan; it may lead to legal action to recover the money and can affect your credit rating.

Delinquent: When at least one loan payment is late or missed. Serious delinquency may result in default.

Principal: The full amount borrowed. During repayment, it refers to the portion of the original amount still owed (not including interest).

Loan Fees: One-time charges to originate or guarantee a loan, expressed as a percentage of the loan balance.

FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student Aid: the form used to determine the amount of federal and state aid for which you are eligible.

Dependency Status: If you are considered a dependent student, colleges will count parent income, assets and circumstances in addition to your finances in awarding aid.

SAR – Student Aid Report: The official notification sent to students after the FAFSA is received. This document will state your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

Award Letter: List of types and amounts of aid that your prospective school is offering. You are not required to accept all aid.

Financial Aid Package: The total financial aid you are offered, including scholarships, grants, work-study and loans. This information is typically summarized in an award letter.

Financial Need: The difference between your educational costs and the EFC.

COA – Cost of Attendance: This figure includes the total price of tuition, fees, room, board, books, supplies, transportation and personal expenses for one academic year of education (also known as Student Budget).

EFC – Expected Family Contribution: A measure of your family’s financial strength based on income, assets, family size, etc., based on FAFSA. The EFC represent the amount of money the federal government believes your family is able to contribute toward college. *The amount you end up actually paying could differ form the EFC, depending on what resources available at your college.

Federal Aid Programs
Pell Grant: Gift aid that is given based on financial need. How much aid you will be eligible to receive is based on you EFC. Current maximum is $4,050.

Federal-Work Study: Provides part-time employment for students who have financial need. Jobs are usually available both on and off campus.

Perkins Loan: Fixed low interest (5%) loan through your college. You must demonstrate financial need. Current max per year for undergrads is $4,000 (max. total is $20,000).

Stafford Loan: Currently a variable interest rate loan (pending legislation could change this loan to a fixed rate loan). You can receive this loan from a private lender or your college. They can be subsidized (no interest accrues while in school) or unsubsidized (interest accrues while in school).

Eight Easy Steps in the Student Financial Aid Process

Before October 1st
Get a Social Security Number (SSN) – this is needed in order to process the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). To apply visit Social Security online,
Request a PIN – A PIN (Personal Identification Number) is required in order to submit and correct the FAFSA online. To request a PIN, visit
Make note of state and college deadlines and requirements. Visit state deadlines.
Obtain the online FAFSA worksheet. Use it to help gather the information needed to fill out the official FAFSA. Worksheets are available online or through Mrs. McKeon West Geauga’s LEAF advisor.

After October 1st
Compete the FAFSA on the internet. Visit and complete as soon as possible. Awards are given on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Review your Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR summarizes the data reported on the FAFSA; when it is received review it carefully to make sure all the information is correct. Make corrections or changes if necessary. “If the FAFSA is complete, an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is printed in the upper-right hand corner.” Visit learn more about the SAR.
At least 30 percent of submitted FAFSAs are selected for verification. “If you’ve been selected, an asterisk (*) will appear after your EFC number. Submit tax returns and other documentation to your school’s financial aid office. To learn more about the verification process, visit
Compare award letters. If eligible for aid, the schools which one is accepted at will send an awards letter. Carefully compare types of aid and amount awarded. Visit for more information.
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