What advice can you give to clients with children approachingcollege age, to help them stand the best chance of qualifying forfinancial aid? Here are a few ideas:

All colleges require students who wish to be considered forfinancial aid file the Free Application for Federal StudentAssistance. In addition, many parents complete the CollegeScholarship Service Profile, a financial aid application developedby The College Board and used by more than 300 private colleges anduniversities. The CSS Profile, which includes more extensiveinformation than the FAFSA, is often called the “institutionalmethodology” – as opposed to the FAFSA’s “federal methodology.”

Parents should not wait until their FAFSA filing deadline tobegin planning for needs-based aid. DOE has created an online toolcalled FAFSA4caster thatcan be used to preview the FAFSA and model “what-if” scenarios.

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