FAFSA ( Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form used by virtually all two and four-year colleges, universities and career schools for the awarding of federal student aid and most state and college aid. There’s a lot of federal money available to help you pay for school, but you can’t be considered for any of it until you complete a FAFSA. You should be able to pick one up at your high school guidance office, public library, local college, or the U.S. Department of Education.

The fastest way to apply for federal student aid is over the Internet using the interactive FAFSA on the Web at www.fafsa.ed.gov. This site hosts the online application, as well as an abundance of information about filling it out. You can check your eligibility for applying for financial aid, find out what information you need to gather, and sign up for a pin number which serves as your electronic signature on the application.

To meet the Federal Student Aid deadline, you should apply as early as possible beginning January 1st of each year. Please be aware that schools and states have their own deadlines, which are often in February or March, so you should contact each college or university for exact deadline dates.

For additional information on the FAFSA, go to the FAFSA website.

CSS Profile

Colleges, universities, graduate and professional schools, and scholarship programs use
the information collected on the PROFILE to help them award private grant and scholarship funds. The PROFILE Application is personalized for you based on the information you give when you register for the service. In addition, you can include explanations about special circumstances on the application so the colleges and programs reviewing your information can make their decisions knowing as much as possible about your family. Approximately 600 private colleges and graduate programs require this additional application.

For more information about the CSS Profile, see the Profile website.

MEFA (Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority)

MEFA — the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority is a non-profit self-financing state authority, not reliant on state or federal appropriation, that works to make higher education more accessible and affordable for students and families in Massachusetts.
Some resources include:

*Straightforward information and advice on applying for and choosing college financing
*Innovative college savings plans for parents of young children preparing for future education expenses
*Free financial aid seminars and helpful calculators and tools to help you understand your options and plan your college funding strategy
*Information about education loan options

Helpful Financial Aid Telephone Numbers:
Financial Aid Hotline: 1-800-442-1171

Federal Student Information Center: 1-800-4FEDAID
(Assistance with general questions regarding the FAFSA)

College Scholarship Service (CSS): 609-771-7725
(Provides information about the processing of a submitted PROFILE)

Massachusetts Board of Higher Education Scholarship Office: 617-727-9420
(Answers questions about the State Scholarship Program)

Higher Education Information Center, Boston Public Library: 617-536-0200
(Financial Aid Counselors are available to help complete forms. No appointment is necessary. Easy access for Boston families.)