Hi, I'm Stephanie & I’m On An Aid Crusade.
I guide parents of high school students on their quest for financial assistance without the stress, anxiety and headache that can come from trying to complete the forms properly and the heartbreak that can come when you don’t.
Estimate Your Aid Now Before Ever Applying To Colleges
Find The Colleges With The Most Money For You & Your Student
Understand The Aid Application Process
You’re Lost & Your Student Is Counting On You
“All you have to do is fill out the FAFSA form.” Maybe you’ve heard this one from friends, family and even your student’s college counselor.
You are not a dumb person! You’re raising children, working, managing a career and/or a household too. So, how is it that you can do all of that simultaneously, yet be stumped by a form or the financial aid process?
The truth is applying for financial aid can be confusing even if you did it when you applied for aid when you went to college. Things are different now and they keep changing.
When you apply for financial aid on your own, you are essentially playing a game that you know little or nothing about.
Want To Know How the Financial Aid System Works?
Tell me how much income and assets you have and I’ll tell you how much college is going to cost you. Can you imagine going into a store to buy a pair of shoes and being asked: “How much money have you got in your wallet?”
Every student is encouraged to submit a FAFSA in the senior year of high school, but the form is really designed with a specific student profile in mind - a student living in a traditional, nuclear family whose financial situation is straightforward and simple.
The parents have a job with relatively consistent income, that generates a W-2 form each year, and they own a simple set of assets. Strangely, even some of these families have difficulty.
However, The More A Student’s Situation Deviates From This, The More Difficult It Can Become For Families To Complete The Form.
The Reality Is That No One Form Could Possibly Cover Every Family Scenario Easily.
But where does that leave you?
This is what usually kicks off the internet searches, but this is hard because you don’t even know what you don’t know!
Most college counselors are experts when it comes to the admissions side of things but have minimal training on the financial aid end.
They might be able to answer general questions, but most don’t feel comfortable giving extensive advice.
So...back you go to the internet scouring for answers or waiting on hold with the Department of Education.
As If That Weren't Enough
...Many people think that they’re done with the process once they make their way through the FAFSA form.
But have you heard about the CSS Financial Aid Profile form? It’s described as “The Most Onerous Form in College Admissions” in the cover story of The Chronicle of Higher Education’s March 5, 2021 issue.
There’s way more to financial aid than filling out the FAFSA form.
The problem is that the process of navigating college financial aid is not transparent. Applying for financial aid is convoluted. There are multiple bureaucracies involved.
Add to that there is really no centralized source of streamlined information. You can go site to site, dig through pages and pages of information for all sorts of situations and still not get the answers to your questions.
Let Me Hand You A Lifeline - You Don’t Have To Do This Alone!
What if you...
- Knew where your son or daughter had the best chances of obtaining financial assistance even if they didn’t qualify for need-based financial aid？ You could help them pick the best money schools for them and minimize disappointment when the acceptance letters arrive.
- Had a blueprint to follow so that you knew what to expect at every step along the process and you weren't scrambling at the last minute to meet a deadline？Wouldn't that mean less stress for you？
- Had a reliable resource that you could go to.
- Could hand all this stuff off to someone else just like you do your taxes？
Direction & Guidance: Get your Bearings So That You Can Plot A Plan To Apply For Aid.
Understand The Process. Gain Perspective & Wisdom
An Extra Pair Of Hands: To Get Things Done.
Get Started Now!
...So That It’s More Likely That Your Student Gets To Actually Attend The Colleges That Accept Them
Whether you have a high school freshman or a senior, you need to start learning now. You may or may not know that the financial aid forms use the income information for the tax return completed two years before your student expects to begin college. This is what gets referred to as the Prior-Prior Year (PPY).
This means your income information for the second half of your student’s sophomore year in high school and the first half of his or her junior year will be a big factor in determining financial aid eligibility for the freshman year of college!
The government will be “simplifying” the FAFSA form AGAIN!?! These changes will take place over several years and be fully phased in by the 2024-2025 school year (2022 tax year). How these changes will affect you depends on your individual circumstances. You need to know now so that you can get prepared.
Waiting To Get Started Or Doing This On Your Own Could Mean Missed Deadlines or Worse, Missed Aid.
You Already Have Enough To Worry About!
- Will your student get accepted to the colleges on their list?
- Can you avoid the mistakes that will negatively impact their ability to attend their dream college?
- Will they get enough aid to make attending possible?
Many colleges use financial assistance to help fulfill the school’s own goal of enrolling a full freshman class every fall with the highest average revenue paid.
As important as the form(s) are, they don’t do anything. I often hear parents say, my sister did the FAFSA for her kid and all they got was a student loan.
What many parents don’t get is that the college, with the help of the financial aid form(s), determines what your need is...it is rarely the same as our own perception.
On A College Tour, You Often Receive Vague Answers When Asking About Financial Aid.
The dialogue often goes something like this-- Parent: What about financial aid? Tour guide (most often a student): “Oh, we meet 100% of need for students here at Generour University.” Parent: (Thinking to him/herself) Oh, that’s great! We have need and they meet 100% of need. Sadly that's not how it works.
The FAFSA is free to complete and submit. The word “free” is in the very name of the form-- Free Application for Federal Student Aid. You know another form that’s free? The 1040. The federal tax return form.
You Already Know That To Be Successful You Need A Plan
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Hi, I'm Stephanie...
For more than 20 years, I’ve developed a reputation for being the “College Aid Lady”, the source when it comes to financial aid. I have worked with parents of high school students, high school counselors and independent college counselors with just about every aspect of the financial aid universe. It’s no coincidence that I’m on speed-dial for more than a few college admissions professionals. I know how to get the right answers.
If I had a dollar for every time over the years someone said to me, “I’ve got kind of a unique situation,” there wouldn’t be a website because I would have retired by now 😉
Now, I won’t say that there isn’t a situation that I haven’t seen, but when I do come across one. I enjoy the challenge of finding the right solution. I’m that girl! If you’re struggling with the process, let me help you do the heavy lifting. Let me be that girl for you too. I am after all, The College Aid Lady.