The College Solutions Blog

Valuable insights from Lynn O’Shaughnessy
a nationally recognized college expert.

Financial aid
Featured image for “How colleges assess home equity for financial aid”
June 30, 2021

How colleges assess home equity for financial aid

Plenty of parents worry that their home equity might hurt their child’s chances for financial aid. Luckily, at most state and private colleges and universities, the equity in your primary home is a non-issue. That’s because most schools only require families to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) when applying for financial aid, which doesn’t even ask...
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Featured image for “12 Expected Family Contribution Tips”
May 25, 2021

12 Expected Family Contribution Tips

One of the biggest questions that parents with college-bound children puzzle with is if their child has a chance for financial aid. The first step that you should take when grappling with this issue is to obtain your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). You should do this before seriously exploring your teenager’s college options. This is more confusing than you might...
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Featured image for “Finding colleges offering big scholarships”
April 21, 2021

Finding colleges offering big scholarships

It’s late in the college admission season, but schools are still giving out college scholarships to those who know where to look. The pandemic caused many colleges to provide better scholarships than they would have liked. And actually, some schools, long before the pandemic hit, were giving out large merit scholarships. I wrote about one aspect of this phenomenon earlier...
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Featured image for “Taking advantage of today’s college admission landscape”
March 10, 2021

Taking advantage of today’s college admission landscape

Earlier this month, I discussed the current college admission landscape with Mark Salisbury, the creator of TuitionFit, a nonprofit that’s been compared to the Kelly Blue Book of college pricing. We shared our thoughts about what happened to college admission landscape last year and also shared our predictions about what will happen to college admissions in 2021. If you are...
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Featured image for “New FAFSA Changes – Winners and Losers”
January 19, 2021

New FAFSA Changes – Winners and Losers

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid will be undergoing significant changes soon and families, who hope to obtain financial aid, need to prepare for the FAFSA changes. Tucked into federal pandemic relief legislation that Congress passed during the Christmas holidays, was a dramatic overhaul to the FAFSA and financial aid rules. Last week, I talked to Mark Kantrowitz, a...
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Featured image for “Use this Valuable College Admission Checklist”
December 8, 2020

Use this Valuable College Admission Checklist

Using  a college admission checklist is critical when your child is applying to colleges and universities. Allowing  a teenager to apply to any colleges without a solid game plan can be a financial and academic disaster. In fact, ignoring advance planning is one reason why ONE OUT OF THREE students who start at four-year public and private colleges and universities...
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Featured image for “How to take advantage of college admission changes during COVID-19”
September 7, 2020

How to take advantage of college admission changes during COVID-19

No matter when COVID-19 finally disappears, the college admission practices that changed due to the pandemic, will not completely disappear. In a recent webinar, I discussed how the pandemic has impacted college admissions in significant ways and how families can take advantage of these changes going forward. COVID-19 and College Admissions Here are some COVID-19 developments that you should know...
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Featured image for “During a pandemic, getting more money from a college”
June 8, 2020

During a pandemic, getting more money from a college

During the COVID-19 pandemic, plenty of colleges are worried about not only attracting enough freshmen for this fall, but also for the 2021-2022 college admission season. Many colleges have made the calculation that it’s better to pay too much to attract a new student than to lose that prospect – and the revenue he or she generates – all together....
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Featured image for “SwiftStudent: New tool to appeal financial aid awards”
April 20, 2020

SwiftStudent: New tool to appeal financial aid awards

If you want to appeal a financial aid award, there is a new resource to help you write the aid appeal letter. The free tool, called SwiftStudent, guides families through requesting more financial aid for a variety of reasons including because of financial setback due to COVID-19. The brainchild of this easy-to-use tool is Abigail Seldin, who has had a...
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Featured image for “Tuitionfit:  a tool to find better college deals now”
April 17, 2020

Tuitionfit: a tool to find better college deals now

In the midst of a pandemic,  finding a college that is the right financial fit has become even more important than it was just a few months ago. Before COVID-19 became a household word, you might have thought that you knew where your child would be attending college in the fall. What happens now if the colleges on your child’s...
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