Looking for financial aid to help foot the tuition bill? Follow these 10 tips to help you secure the funding help you need and remember — don't wait until your child's senior year to start thinking about student aid.
Get the tips you need to succeed

We know you’re busy, so we're here to take the guesswork out of financial aid, college applications, and how to survive college life. And best of all, it’s free!

Get exclusive test prep info now!

Since score matters, sign up and get our proven test prep tips & 40% off our test prep books. And best of all, it's free!

Petersons Free PSAT Sample Test
Free Sample PSAT® Test Questions & Answers

The PSAT® test is right around the corner. Our FREE sample questions give you a peek into the type of questions you can expect to see on the test.

Get Started

Looking for financial aid to help foot the tuition bill? Follow these 10 tips to help you secure the funding help you need and remember — don't wait until your child's senior year to start thinking about student aid. The sooner you start, the more money you may be able to find.

1. Get an early idea of your EFC
Estimate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) during your child's junior year. By getting an idea of what you might pay, you can find colleges within your price range and identify what you might need in scholarships and loans to manage your tuition costs. The more financial aid information you can gather, the better.

2. Reduce your child's savings
An entire 20 percent of your child's assets are considered available for college, as opposed to just 5.6 percent of yours. Encourage your child to save, but keep college funds in a custodial account.

3. Learn a little about marketing
This is one of the most important aspects of competing for merit-based awards. Highlight your child's accomplishments and an award committee will be that much more likely to consider giving a scholarship to your son or daughter.

4. Make financial aid a part of your campus visits

Ask to speak with someone in the student financial aid office — it's the best way to get your family on the radar for campus-based awards. Afterwards, take some notes! These contacts could come in handy later.

5. Do a bit of detective work
Determine if your child's application for aid affects the probability of admittance. If so, find out how.

6. Make a decision on early decision
If your child is thinking of applying Early Decision or Early Action, determine how it will affect your chances for student aid. Early Decision acceptance may prevent you from comparing awards, because your child will have to commit to the school before you see the aid offers from other applications. (This is not a factor if your child is accepted under an Early Action or Single-Choice Early Action application, as these are non-binding offers.)

7. Determine the effect of outside awards
If your child receives an outside scholarship, find out how it will affect your student financial aid award. Some schools will lessen grant aid, and others will pare down on loans. The school's policy will affect the amount you'll have to borrow.

8. Pay attention to deadlines
The sooner your child files his or her college applications, the better your chances of receiving aid. To assist with financial aid for college forms, file your taxes as early in the year as possible. Keep in mind that if you are applying to schools that require the PROFILE financial aid application, it may have an earlier deadline than the FAFSA.

9. Complete the FAFSA
Fill out this form, even if you think you won't qualify — very affluent families sometimes qualify for aid at certain high-tuition schools. This single application is your gateway to all federal loan, grant, and work-study awards that total in the billions of dollars.

10. Make your college aware of special circumstances
If you have lost your job since completing the FAFSA or PROFILE, inform schools about your situation. Most have standard policies that allow for the use of projected income, which could increase financial assistance.

Peterson's is YOUR guide to college information
Get exclusive information on schools, scholarships, and test prep

Log in to Peterson's

Forgot your password?

To reset your password, simply enter your email address in the field below and click the Reset Password button. You will receive an email with a link and instructions to reset your password.

Check your email

Please check your email and click on the link provided in the message to reset your password.


I certify that I am the subscriber to the provided cellular or other wireless number and I authorize {{SchoolName}} and its representatives and agents to contact me regarding educational opportunities at any current and future numbers that I provide for my cellular telephone or other wireless device using automatic dialing systems, artificial or prerecorded messages, and/or SMS text messages, even if I will be charged by my service provider(s) for receiving such communications. Consent is not a condition for receiving more information from {{SchoolName}}, and I understand that if I no longer wish to receive communications, I will need to contact {{SchoolName}} to alter this consent.

Disagree Agree
Petersons Monthly Scholarship

Peterson’s December 2017 $1,000 Scholarship

Give yourself a gift this season by getting extra cash for school. Take 2 minutes to apply for our $1,000 scholarship