How to Prepare for Financial Aid as a High School Freshman
During my tenure as a financial aid officer at MIT, Babson College, and other schools, I read thousands of financial aid applications and talked to hundreds of parents about how they could cover their share of the costs of their children’s educations. I learned very quickly that the earlier a family began to think about how they would pay for their children’s education, the more likely they would be able to do so without too much financial stress.
When you get right down to it, there are three ways students can secure funds to reduce the costs of their undergraduate educations. First, there is need-based financial aid: the money that colleges and the federal and state government provide to students after some kind of analysis of their family’s ability to pay for college. Second, there are “outside scholarships”: money that the student can compete for and—if they win—bring with them to any college they choose to attend. And third, there are scholarships awarded by the colleges themselves.