College Planning: Financial Aid

Applying for financial aid is one of the most important steps in enrolling in college. Getting assistance paying for your classes can make the difference between attending college or not. NCEOC Education Specialists are available to help you through the financial aid process from determining (according to federal regulations) what income and personal information is needed on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), completing the electronic application, assisting with follow-up paperwork, and advocating on your behalf with your college’s Financial Aid Office.

The Financial Aid Office at the school you’re attending will compile your financial aid award. Your award can consist of federal, state and college funding and may include grants, which is free money, work-study, which is money earned through work, or loans, which is borrowed money. Each funding source sets the criteria for who receives aid. Most use the FAFSA as a starting point in determining eligibility. Complete your FAFSA as early as possible after January 1 of the year you’ll start classes.

Use our Income Checklist (2016-2017) to get an idea of the personal income information you will need to complete the FAFSA. Some, but not all, private four-year colleges also require completion of the CSS Profile which is used to determine the amount of money the college can give you in financial aid. This money is completely separate from federal or state money. Pay close attention to college financial aid filing deadlines to get the best financial aid award. Deadlines are usually posted on college websites.

You must apply for financial aid each year that you attend college. Call the NCEOC for an appointment at 978-630-9823.

Another source of paying for college is scholarships. Check out our scholarships page for valuable scholarship websites.