There are hundreds of websites that purport to offer families advice about the complicated issue of financial aid for college. Not all of them are truly helpful. Not all are accurate. Some of them attempt to steer you to particular lenders. NACAC has compiled this list of trusted, up-to-date sources to help your students and their families navigate this process.
Department of Education (ED)
- Financial Aid Toolkit: Federal student instructions, handouts, and outreach tools for counselors and college access professionals.
- Loan simulator login page: To understand what a repayment of a student loan looks like login with your FSA ID credentials. Read the latest U.S. Department of Education blog for more information.
- Counselors and Mentors Handbook on Federal Student Aid
- College Preparation Checklist: Checklist that helps students, as well as adults and parents, prepare financially and academically for college.
- Federal Student Aid training materials: Free training, information, resources, and tools about federal, state, and local financial aid programs for counselors and mentors.
- Federal Student Aid (FSA): Federal student aid programs and the process for applying for and receiving aid (for students).
- Helping Students Navigate the Path to College: What High Schools Can Do: Evidence-based practices that successfully prepare students academically for college and improve their likelihood of enrolling in college.
- Learn how to spot potential fraud, avoid paying for free services, and prevent identity theft.
The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS)
- College InSight: College-level data (totals and averages for states, institution types, and other groupings of colleges) on college affordability, diversity, and student success.
- IBR Info: Income-driven repayment plans (Income-Based Repayment, Pay As You Earn, and Revised Pay As You Earn) and public service loan forgiveness information.
- Project on Student Debt: Multiple resources including a report on and map of student loan debt and the most recent class of four-year graduates, a summary on current loan limits and interest rates, student loan tips for recent graduates, and questions students should ask about private student loans.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- Paying for College: Tool for students to compare college costs and financial aid offers and information about student loan repayment options.
National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA)
- College Affordability and Transparency Resources for Counselors: Links to and interprets ED’s College Affordability and Transparency Center.
- Student Aid Tips for Unique Student Populations (Adult learners, undocumented students, military and veterans, wards of the court, foster youth, & single parents)
National College Attainment Network (NCAN)
- Form Your Future Campaign: Provides free resources to those assisting students on completing the FAFSA.
- How can I request a change to my college financial aid package? SwiftStudent, developed by the Seldin/Haring-Smith Foundation, will help you write a financial aid appeal letter - for free.
- The Urban Institute's online resource, "Understanding College Affordability," aims to help students and parents from various backgrounds and income levels decipher what affordability means when it comes to college.
- TGR Foundation and Discovery Education's "Financial Pursuit" is a self-paced, digital module for students to learn about how to pay for college. There's also an educator guide available to go along with the module.
- Students can calculate a quick and simple estimate on their return on college using this tool from the Federal Reserve Bank of SF.
- The Federal Trade Commission provides dependable consumer information, including terms and definitions, tips for financing your education, clarity on different loan types, warning signs of debt relief scams, and more.
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