Paying for college is difficult, especially in a tough economy. But financial aid is available for students who know how to work the system. Here are three ways to help fund your higher education.
What it is: A ballpark estimate of attendance cost for college
Prospects should request a pre-read from a college coach early in the recruiting process, but not unless they have sincere interest in the coach's program. To get an accurate pre-read, submit the following:
- Prior year family income and taxes paid, with W-2 forms
- Parental divorce/separation paperwork, if applicable
- Completed budget worksheet (on a form usually provided by the coach)
- Admissions data (standardized test scores, class rank, etc.)
In two weeks, a pre-read can tell you how much it will cost to attend a specific college.
What it is: A financial aid package offered to an admitted student, often including leadership grants and academic scholarships
These awards reward top students, special interest prospects and those with strong financial need. Communicate your financial aid interest and concerns to the college coach, who may be able to recommend you. Coaches can uncover potential scholarships that most applicants don't know about.
What it is: A financial aid package offered by one school to match what has been offered by another school
Some schools will match a financial aid offer from another institution, usually toward the end of a recruiting season. Often, it's a rival school doing the matching. Out of respect for the coaches, only pursue matching financial aid packages from those colleges that you are seriously considering.
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