It’s the middle of October, and that can only mean a few things: the air is crisp, the leaves have begun to change colors, and the FAFSA and CSS Profile forms recently opened up for the 2020-2021 school year. If you’re applying for financial aid, you’ll be adding these forms to the list of requirements you already have for applying for college. This week we’re bringing you some helpful tips on applying for financial aid to help you through the process.
1) Have a conversation with your family now about how you’ll pay for college next year.
The earlier you start talking about finances, the better. It’ll be helpful to you to know if your family has saved any money in a 529 Plan or other savings account, if you’ll be expected to borrow loans to help pay for the cost of college, and how much they can reasonably contribute each you to your educational costs.
2) Tufts meets 100% of the demonstrated need of our admitted financial aid applicants.
If you apply for financial aid on time, we are committed to meeting your demonstrated need. While you should certainly apply to a variety of colleges (including full-need schools like Tufts, public universities in your home state, and private institutions that offer merit scholarships), don’t let the “sticker price” of Tufts shock you. More than 35 percent of our students received institutional grant aid in 2018-2019.
3) Use Tufts’ MyinTuition calculator.
MyinTuition will give you a quick estimate of your financial aid eligibility at Tufts. It should only take about three minutes, and it will be much easier if you do this with your parent or guardian. Using this tool will help you get an idea of what your financial aid eligibility might look like at Tufts. We encourage all families who need assistance paying for college to apply for financial aid.
4) Make sure you meet your deadlines!
ED1 student should complete the FAFSA and CSS Profile by November 1, ED2 students by January 15, and Regular Decision students need to apply by February 1. All students must also submit their family’s tax forms to IDOC 15 days after the FAFSA and CSS Profile deadline. The FAFSA is free to submit, and the CSS Profile costs $25 for the first college then $16 for each additional college. Eligible students will automatically be given fee waivers by the CSS Profile.
5) Gather your documents before you start the forms.
You will need your family’s 2018 taxes (including all schedules) and W-2s, plus general information about untaxed income and assets. Make sure you save your FSA ID that you use for the FAFSA in a safe place, and log into the CSS Profile with your existing College Board account (this allows fee waivers, if applicable, to transfer).
6) Use the help features in the applications.
If you’re not sure what number to include, use the help features on the financial aid application forms. Both the FAFSA and the CSS Profile have incredibly helpful info boxes. Anytime you’re not sure how to answer a question, read the help text.
7) Memorize your social security number.
If you don’t already have your social security number memorized, now is a great time to memorize it! If you are a US Citizen or Permanent Resident, please include your social security number both on your admissions application and your financial aid applications. You will also need to indicate that you’re applying for financial aid on your admissions application. Including your social security number helps us match your admissions and financial aid applications, and it is required for federal financial aid.
8) Check to make sure you’re done!
Make sure you’ve submitted the required forms to every college you applied to! You can check each college’s admissions portal (you’ll receive a link to access it after you apply) to see what admissions and financial aid applications you’re submitted and what’s still missing. If it’s been a week since you submitted the forms, you can contact us to check on the status.
Good luck on your college applications! Just as much as our Admissions team looks forward to reading your essays and teacher recommendations, our team in the Financial Aid Office looks forward to reviewing your completed aid applications and family’s taxes!