Monthly Archives: October 2016

Financial aid: Now’s the time to file the FAFSA

Student fills out the FAFSAHave you filed your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) yet? If not, you’d be smart to do so soon. It’s the single most important filing for students seeking financial aid for college. Now’s the time to file the FAFSA. Here’s why:

This year the Department of Education has made the FAFSA available to students and their parents on October first, a full three months earlier than in previous years. They’ve announced that FAFSA filing will begin in October in coming years too.

For those hoping to get financial aid for college, that’s a big plus. It means students who file early may receive word of their financial aid packages in the late fall or early winter. That gives students plenty of time to consider their options before choosing which college they’ll attend.

I say “may” because the actual financial aid packages are put together by the individual colleges, not the Department of Education. Each college works according to its own deadlines. Some will move their timing up to complement the FAFSA’s early filing option. Others will not.

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What colleges really want

What colleges really wantBesides good grades and test scores, what are top colleges looking for when they select their freshman class? Students and parents often get it wrong. Unsurprisingly, they have trouble cutting through the myths. That’s why it pays to ask.

At the Fourth Annual NYC Directors of Admission Panel this week, senior admissions staff from some of New York’s most selective colleges answered questions about what they want. Two, in particular, impressed me with their clarity and candor.

Cooper Union, long known for its high-quality programs in art, architecture and engineering, as well as its appealingly low cost, had an acceptance rate of just 13% last year. That’s partly because tuition is subsidized, making it one of the most affordable and coveted schools in New York. It’s also because it offers a fine technical education, right in the heart of one of the great cities of the world.

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