The College Solutions Blog

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

Financial aid
Featured image for “Tackling common college questions during COVID-19”
April 8, 2020

Tackling common college questions during COVID-19

This is an incredibly stressful time for families who have to navigate college admissions during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a practical matter, this (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime experience has generated a great deal of college questions from anxious students, parents, educational consultants and high school counselors. Some answers are known. We know, for instance, that the Advanced Placement tests, with a radically...
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Featured image for “Appealing a Financial Aid Award During COVID-19”
March 24, 2020

Appealing a Financial Aid Award During COVID-19

COVID-19 has made the college admission and financial aid process unbearably stressful and scary. As my small way of helping, as I remain holed up in my house in San Diego, I decided to start answering your college questions beginning today. Via my blog – The College Solution – I will tackle at least one question on most week days....
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Featured image for “Why you need to use college net price calculators”
February 14, 2020

Why you need to use college net price calculators

Before you let your teenager apply to colleges, you need to use each college’s net price calculator. Unless money is no object and you can afford to pay full price for any colleges, turning to net price calculators is critical. If you don’t know what these calculators are – and most parents don’t – here are 10 things you need...
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Featured image for “Evaluating a Financial Aid Letter: What’s Usually Missing”
January 13, 2020

Evaluating a Financial Aid Letter: What’s Usually Missing

Financial aid awards are often confusing. Plenty of colleges and universities intentionally make financial aid awards hard to decipher to trick families into thinking that their institutions are being generous even when they aren’t. Obfuscation is an effective way to keep parents from effectively evaluating a financial aid award. Since we are in the season of financial aid letters, I...
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Featured image for “How to Appeal a Financial Aid Letter”
January 17, 2019

How to Appeal a Financial Aid Letter

How do you appeal a financial aid letter? Should you appeal a financial aid award? What kind of college awards can you appeal? I directed these financial aid questions to Mark Kantrowitz, a nationally recognized financial aid expert, who has just published a book entitled, How to Appeal for More Financial Aid Awards. Mark is publisher and VP of research...
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Featured image for “Getting Help with the FAFSA and CSS Profile”
October 16, 2018

Getting Help with the FAFSA and CSS Profile

If you need assistance completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or the CSS Profile – or wondering where to start – you’ll find helpful resources below! If your child will be in college for the 2019-2020 school year, you can file the FAFSA and the CSS Profile now. The official release date for both financial aid applications was...
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Featured image for “Expected Family Contribution: 10 Things to Know”
August 9, 2018

Expected Family Contribution: 10 Things to Know

One of the biggest questions that parents with college-bound children puzzle with is if their child has a chance for financial aid. This is more confusing than you might think because at some schools a family could qualify for need-based aid if they make $200,000 a year and at another school, the ceiling for aid could be $70,000 or much...
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Featured image for “How Home Equity Impacts Financial Aid”
January 13, 2018

How Home Equity Impacts Financial Aid

Have you given any thought to how home equity might hurt your 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...
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Featured image for “Maximizing Financial Aid – Beware of Mistakes”
October 16, 2017

Maximizing Financial Aid – Beware of Mistakes

It’s financial aid season! If you have a child heading to college next fall, you can complete the Free Application for Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA) or the CSS Profile now! Whether you’re filing this year or are curious about what lies ahead, I have written two helpful articles that explore important financial aid topics. (I wrote both of these articles...
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Featured image for “10 Things You Need to Know About College Net Price Calculators”
September 18, 2017

10 Things You Need to Know About College Net Price Calculators

Here is what typically happens during college admission season: Students apply to whatever colleges they want without having any clue about whether these schools will give them grants and/or scholarships. Parents are often nervously okay with their children disregarding price when finalizing their lists. The attitude of these moms and dads can be summed up this way:  Go ahead and...
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