Do colleges offer financial aid?
Yes. College financial aid typically consists of grants and/or scholarships that can be based on either financial need or merit. In many cases, college grants or scholarships can significantly reduce a family's out of pocket costs.
For need-based grants and scholarships, colleges use both the federal government's aid application, the FAFSA, and their own application, typically the standard PROFILE form, to determine a child's financial need. The main difference between the FAFSA and the PROFILE is that the PROFILE digs deeper into your family's finances. For example, the PROFILE application may require you to note your retirement balances, your home equity, and the type of cars you drive. Keep in mind that your child's need-based grants or scholarships might fluctuate from year to year as your family's financial circumstances change.