Applying for financial aid is one of the most important parts of the college search process. The amount of financial aid a student receives can be the deciding factor about whether they attend the college of their choice. Knowing how to get the most aid possible, from the government, private providers, and the college itself, is crucial.
We’ve listed some of the best sites on college financial aid here, from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to individual college financial aid offices with comprehensive FAQs or other resources that any student can benefit from. Any student should know both the big picture and the little tricks to maximizing their financial aid, and this list is a good place to start learning.
FAFSA is the form students must complete to apply for federal aid when attending college. Based on need, students can qualify for select grants and loans.
Financial Aid Forum breaks down issues with loans, federal or private, along with tips for filling out a FAFSA, and how-to information on applying for scholarships.
Federal Student Aid is part of the Department of Education and provides information on types of aid, how to prepare for college, help with FAFSA, and how to manage loans.
FinAid is a great site for understanding how to maximize aid eligibility and breaks down the student loan process into understandable pieces.
The National College Finance Center helps students with resources not only to pay for college, but also to repay loans as well.
Financial Aid Help provides tips for how to navigate the cumbersome process of securing aid for college. Additionally, they help prospective college students with the college application process.
The Student Aid Alliance provides up-to-date information on news related to aid for college students, along with student stories of their experiences with financial aid.
Financial Aid Finder provides detailed guides on how to maximize financial aid for college, along with resources outlining topics such as Stafford Loans, Federal Work Study, and State Financial Aid Programs.
Cash Course from the University of Pennsylvania assists students with understanding the steps necessary to successfully attain financial aid for college through a Budget Wizard, Financial Calculator, Worksheets, and Quizzes.
The Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority helps plan for students college experience at any age. It provides tools for children and even adults to prepare for going to college.
The State of Connecticut’s Office of Higher Education works with high school and college students to secure the aid necessary for college. Through a variety of state programs like the Capitol Scholarship and CT Aid for Public College Students and Federal like Stafford and Perkins Loans, they ensure any student can attend college.
The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency offers advice for students seeking financial aid for higher education. Why the advice is somewhat geared toward students in Pennsylvania, many of the topics discussed are common in financial aid searches throughout the U.S.
Peterson’s offers many services related to higher education, including articles on the current state of financial aid and how to find good financial aid options in both public and private sectors.
The Project on Student Debt is an initiative of the Institute for College Access & Success that details what schools have pledges to reduce student debt.
Michigan.Gov provides information on student loans, scholarships and grants, and even forms and documents needed for applying for different aid.
The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators is a great resource for those who work in financial aid and want to become more informed on how to successfully approach working in financial aid administration.
Get Ready For College is a great resource for viewing different applications online, estimating financial aid, and understanding education tax benefits.
There are so many directions to turn when seeking financial aid that sometimes an FAQ is the best way to get started. Learning the broad strategies of how to get financial aid before diving into actual application forms can make the process less daunting.
Financial Aid Student Services is an independent financial aid preparation and college advisory firm. They help students manage their FAFSA and other financial forms to ensure the largest grant/loan.
The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance outlines the best approach to attaining aid when going to college in Louisiana. With outreach programs and an award system, the site is fairly dense with valuable tools.
I Can Afford College is run by the California Community Colleges and coordinates aid efforts to ensure Californians are able to attend college.
First Generation is a resource for those who will be the first in their families to go to college. It provides ample resources for understanding the process with little or no guidance from family members.
Power of Financial Aid is devoted to helping students in Wisconsin go to college and empower them with a strong support network of financial aid.
Oregon Student Association empowers college students to fight for the rights of all college students in Oregon through initiatives to keep the cost of going to college down and make sure that students have the resources to succeed.
My College Guide has categories for frequently asked questions for those going to college. The site has new questions being added constantly, so it is fairly easy to find answers to questions about attending college.
Student Financial Services from MIT helps allocate the proper resources and help students secure the aid needed to succeed when attending college.
The Minnesota Office of Higher Education’s Financial Aid page has info on all types of financial aid, and is relevant not only to students in Minnesota, but to anyone applying for multiple forms of educational financial aid in the U.S.
RSC – College Prep & Financial Aid Expert has a step-by-step process for navigating student aid and even has a free e-handbook that can be downloaded with more information on financial aid packages.
College Financial Aid Advisors works with families in need of advice on how to send their student to college. They explain different terms commonly thrown around in college financial matters and make everything much easier to understand.
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has a large selection of topics to view concerning how to approach student aid for those interested in attending.
The State Council on Higher Education for Virginia makes understanding the financial aid process much easier to understand by outlining different approaches to aid and things to avoid.
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke’s Office of Financial Aid explains the best ways to get through the financial aid process in order to attend college and includes a Net Price Calculator and a Consumer Information Guide.
Pitzer College’s Financial Aid Department helps students find a voice in the static of financial aid and explains all the essentials to the process.
Kansas State University’s Office of Student Financial Assistance coordinates efforts for students to have a financially sound college experience.
The New Jersey Institute of Technology Student Financial Aid Services helps students attain scholarships and grants to ensure the ability to attend college.
Swarthmore College helps students with a strong financial aid program that demonstrates their commitment to the stability of student life.
The University of Missouri Student Financial Aid Department ensures students are fully equipped with the knowledge to succeed through financial means.
Go Financial Aid works to provide personal assistance to the financial aid process so that students can better understand how to succeed at securing the aid they need.
Oakland University’s Financial Aid department helps students prepare for attending the college with easy-to-access forms and a breakdown of costs.
Vanderbilt University’s Office of Student Financial Aid and Undergraduate Scholarships has a ton of resources for navigating financial aid for college. Additionally, they help students pay for college by awarding nearly 40 million dollars in assistance.
Wofford College’s Financial Aid department helps students with the increasing cost of college by awarding just over 45 million in aid. The site also provides tips for direct loans, crucial dates to know, along with different scholarships the university has to offer.
The North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University Office of Financial Aid helps students with the four main types of aid, along with FAFSA help, and information about repayments.
Humboldt State University has informative graphs and loan information for students, along with tips for budgeting while in college, and requirements for loans.
Coffeyville Community College’s Financial Aid office provides all the resources necessary for a student to attain all the help they need in securing aid for attending.
MBI Financial Aid provides articles and scholarship sources for students to become better financially suited for college.
The College at Old Westbury outlines the most important aspects to applying for aid, details important deadlines, gives scholarship information, and helps students with alternative financing options to ensure the ability to attend college.
The University of Virginia Financial Aid department created AccessUVa to help keep college affordable for students. They have an annual commitment of 40.4 million dollars to help students.
Trip To College is an initiative of The Indiana Youth Institute and it helps students understand how to pay for college, along with answers to common questions, and a timeline of when preparation tasks for college should be completed.
Adventures in Education breaks down the process of going to college and provides over 25 great questions with answers of things typically faced when applying for aid for college.
The Law School Admission Council gives an overview on financial aid and the particular constraints that expensive law school tuition imposes.
Scott Hawksworth is YesCollege.com's founder and editor. He writes with a focus on the challenges faced by students entering higher education, with an eye to making our readers aware of the pitfalls and opportunities that await all would-be graduates. Scott has a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from The Ohio State University.