• textsms I have heard that private colleges/universities, that typically cost much more than public schools are somehow more affordable. How is that possible?
    Unless you qualify for federal and/or state funds, most families receive little to nothing from public colleges. Many private colleges, on the other hand, offer need-based financial aid resulting from your EFC calculation. Private schools offer much more merit scholarships as well.
  • textsms What is meant by the term “Profile School?”
    Only about 10% of 4-year colleges require the CSS Profile Form in order for them to assess eligibility for need-based financial aid. These colleges are referred to as Profile Schools, or Profile Colleges.

    Most colleges use the FAFSA form to calculate a student’s EFC (Expected Family Contribution). This calculation is used to assess eligibility for federal and state financial aid as well as institutional aid (i.e., money from the college’s own endowment funds).

    Profile Colleges use the FAFSA for federal and state financial aid eligibility, but they use the CSS Profile Form for institutional aid assessment. The Profile Form is much more comprehensive in its questioning than is the FAFSA. For example, the Profile Form asks about such things as home equity, business assets (regardless of the size of the biz), retirement funds, and younger children’s assets, whereas the FAFSA does not.

    Even if your student applies to only one Profile School AND your income and assets make you eligible for need-based financial aid, you should complete the CSS Profile Form.
  • textsms I’ve heard it was a waste of time filling out the FAFSA form if you make over $100,000. Is that true?
    This is such a common misconception and is absolutely false. Some families earning well beyond $100K qualify for significant need-based financial aid! To be sure, you should learn your EFC (Expected Family Contribution) early which means well before the FAFSA form is due in January/February of your student’s senior year in high school.

    Also, when families have more than one child in college at the same time, each student’s need-based financial aid eligibility can increase dramatically. It depends on the colleges they’re attending, of course, but having 2 in college causes a split of your total EFC, nearly right down the middle.
  • textsms Is it better to declare a major when applying to college or to go undeclared?
    There’s not a one answer solution for this question. A large number of college freshmen enter undeclared. This is not uncommon, but for a student who has aspirations of entering an impacted curriculum or otherwise selective college within a university and assumes they can “slip in under the radar” by entering undeclared and then transferring late in the sophomore year, they will most often be very disappointed.

    The accurate answer to your question is this: The necessity to declare (or not declare) a major depends on a number of factors, including the college, the major, even the student’s academic credentials.
  • textsms My son has a GPA of 2.5 and is a junior in high school. Should he be concerned about not getting into college because of his grades?
    The vast majority of colleges in America are what we call “pay-and-go”. Your son can easily get into many colleges with a GPA of 2.5. These colleges may or may not be the ones he has in mind.

    The real concern is if your son should go to college or not? The first question to ask is why he wants to go – if he has a big enough why his GPA will go up and he will be willing to do whatever it takes to make his dream come true.
  • textsms What’s the difference between Early Action and Early Decision?
    There’s one major difference that should be considered. Early Action is NON-committal, while Early Decision IS. You can apply Early Action and in the event that you’re accepted you don’t need to commit until May 1st. However, if you apply Early Decision and you’re accepted, you agree to attend as well as accept the financial aid award offered which may or may not be a good offer.
  • textsms Should every student go to college right out of high school?
    Definitely not. Many students consider taking a GAP year after high school even if they plan on going to college. Higher education, however achieved, is all about planning for a career. What’s important are skills and knowledge. There are many alternatives to achieving this, including:

    Community college
    Four Year Colleges/Universities
    Trade & Technology schools
    Military Service
    Online & Distance Learning programs

  • textsms How much does it cost to apply to a college?
    The cost can vary from approximately $50 to about $80 or so with the high end being $100 with additional costs of mailing, etc.
  • textsms How many colleges should my child apply to?
    Every child’s situation is different but on average probably six (6) as a minimum with approximately 12 as the maximum.
  • textsms How easy is it to obtain an athletic scholarship?
    They are not easily obtained. Athletic scholarships are highly misunderstood. Only a small number of exceptionally talented high school athletes even have a chance of being recruited into a Division 1 college. And for those fortunate ones who are, the vast majority will find only a partial scholarship being offered them. Most often it doesn’t come even close to paying for tuition, not to mention room & board, books, and living expenses. The other thing to keep in mind is that in the event of an injury, the scholarship can be removed.
  • textsms Can a student go to any college they want debt free?
    No, that just isn’t possible. But, with proper planning, by both the student and the parents, any student can achieve higher education; receive valuable skills, and training, without going into debt. There is no one way, one-size-fits-all solution. This is a process that the whole family take part in and is what the SAFE Steps is all about.
  • textsms Does my EFC (Expected Family Contribution) have anything to do with what I can afford to pay?
    EFC is based on the federal algorithms (properly called the Federal Methodology), contained within the FAFSA form and calculates what you are expected to pay and has nothing to do with affordability.
  • textsms Is my EFC (Expected Family Contribution) the maximum I will have to pay if my child attends a public college?
    No, the EFC, as calculated by the FAFSA form should be viewed as a benchmark used by colleges to assess a child’s eligibility for need-based financial aid and not as the yearly amount that you can expect to pay for attending the college.