The College Solutions Blog

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

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July 28, 2016

10 Things You Need to Know About Expected Family Contributions

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. The first...
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January 10, 2016

Q&A: Financial Aid Applications

This is the time of year when people are filing for financial aid. In this post, I’m sharing a few of the questions that I’ve gotten about applying for aid. What financial aid applications do my husband and I have to fill out if we want financial aid for our child? All colleges require parents to file the Free Application...
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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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January 18, 2013

Can This Family Ask for More Merit Aid?

I’m answering a quick financial aid question that I received on my Facebook page. Plenty of parents are asking the same question. Lynn O’Shaughnessy Mom’s Question: My son applied Early Action to a number of colleges and has gotten into a variety of them with varying amounts of merit aid. Even with this aid, the schools are still very expensive....
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January 7, 2013

8 Financial Aid Mistakes to Avoid

It’s extremely easy to make financial aid mistakes. Paula Bishop, a CPA friend of mine in Bellevue, WA., who has filled out countless financial aid forms for clients, tells me that she’s never seen any parent complete a  application without at least one mistake.  Now that’s depressing and it can also be costly if you insert even one error in...
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July 10, 2012

What Advice Would You Give This Mom?

Today I’m sharing an email from a mom from New Mexico, who is understandably stressed about the college bill she is gearing up to face for the third of her four children. I’ve got my own thoughts, but I’d love to hear what advice you might give this family. A Mom’s Question Here is the mother’s note: Do colleges take...
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January 31, 2012

Don’t Fall for These 4 Financial Aid Myths

Many of the biggest misconceptions that people have about the college process revolve around financial aid. Now that we’re in the midst of financial aid season, I wanted to share  four  financial aid myths that are probably the most common. 1. I make too much money to qualify for financial aid. You shouldn’t automatically assume that you won’t qualify for...
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January 9, 2012

Getting Bad News From Johns Hopkins

I have been writing college blog posts recently about teenagers who have arguably been applying to the wrong colleges. (Scroll to the bottom to see my three previous posts.) All my posts have involved families who required financial aid, but today I’m sharing the plight of a father who is too wealthy to receive need-based help. Anxious Dad’s Email Here...
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December 8, 2011

Getting Ready to Apply for Financial Aid

If your child will be heading to college next fall, now is the time to prepare for applying for financial aid. Your first step is to know what type of financial aid applications you will have to complete. Students won’t be eligible for financial aid unless they complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. Filling out the...
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November 28, 2011

Will Saving for College Hurt Your Chances for Financial Aid?

Many families worry that their college savings accounts will kill their chances for financial aid. It’s been my experience that it’s usually dads who get stressed out about how colleges will treat their college accounts for financial aid purposes. Some fathers whom I’ve talked are down right bitter. They are especially incensed at the possibility that families that didn’t set...
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