The College Solutions Blog

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

Featured image for “Need FAFSA Help? Here are 6 Resources”
January 2, 2014

Need FAFSA Help? Here are 6 Resources

January 1 marks the start of the FAFSA season. If you will be applying for financial aid this year for a new or returning college student, it’s time to tackle the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Unfortunately,  it’s easy to make mistakes on the forms and these errors could cost you a ton of money. Resources exist, however, to...
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December 16, 2013

Schools That Award Lots of Merit Scholarships

I recently wrote a post that shared the colleges and universities that say that they meet 100% of financial need for the majority of their families. If you missed it, here it is: List of Colleges That Meet 100% of Financial Need The story prompted a mom to email me over the weekend with this question: Have you ever published...
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December 12, 2013

10 Things You Need to Know About Private Scholarships

Winning private college scholarships can certainly help make college more affordable, but you need to know the realities of competing for college cash. Before you start hunting for private college scholarships, here are 10 things you should know about these awards: 1. Private scholarships aren’t the biggest source of college cash. My pet peeve about private scholarships is that people...
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December 10, 2013

Who Should Complete the FAFSA?

FAFSA season is fast approaching, which always brings questions about who should complete this federal financial aid application. For the 2014-2015 school, year, the Department of Education has issued new rules impacting some parents about who should be completing the FAFSA. Here is a rundown of what you need to know: Traditional Married Couples If you are part of a...
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November 8, 2013

Looking For Great College Bargains

Excuse me if this sounds ridiculously elementary, but here goes: One way to cut your college costs is to look for schools with lower sticker prices. My nephew Matt attends Westminster College in Fulton Mo, a liberal arts college, where the tuition and room/board is $30,490. Ninety eight percent of the students at Westminster don’t pay full price. The average...
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November 4, 2013

How to Spot a Lousy Net Price Calculator

As I’ve mentioned in previous college blog posts, net price calculators allow you to obtain a personalized estimate of what a school will cost after deducting any scholarships and grants that your child might be receiving. Before you let your child apply to any colleges, make sure you have used each school’s net price calculator. Unfortunately, not all calculators are...
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October 30, 2013

A Dirty Little FAFSA Secret

If you’ll be filling out the FAFSA during this admission season for a high school teenager, be careful how you list the colleges that your child will be applying to. Colleges could use that information against you. Some schools — no one knows how many – are checking the FAFSA to see in what order an applicant lists his or...
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Featured image for “List of Colleges That Meet 100% of Financial Need”
October 28, 2013

List of Colleges That Meet 100% of Financial Need

If your family will need to depend on financial aid to attend college, your best bet is to find a school that will offer an excellent financial aid package to your child. A great way to assess the generosity of any school is to look at the percentage of financial need it typically meets for its students. Teenagers, who earn...
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September 23, 2013

Random Thoughts from a College Conference

I was in Toronto for the past several days attending the annual monster conference of the National Association for College Admission Counselors. I was a presenter with a couple of my friends – Paula Bishop and Cyndy McDonald – at a pre-conference, which I hope was beneficial for those who attended. I can’t recall ever sharing the microphone with anybody...
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September 19, 2013

Need Aware vs. Need Blind Colleges

My last post focused on whether families should indicate on a college application whether they will seek financial aid. Here’s my position: if you need financial aid to attend college, you should apply for aid. In case you missed it, here is the post: Should You Apply for Financial Aid? My post prompted a mom to make this observation: Good...
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