Explore all your options before eliminating choices from your list of potential colleges. When reviewing you federal loan application, your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is calculated. This figure is what you are expected to pay on your own without loans, and is based on your current financial situation.
Your EFC does not change based on which school you attend, so a more expensive school does not always mean you will have to pay more out of your own pocket. The student financial aid package you receive will be based on the cost of attendance minus your EFC. In fact, you may actually get a more substantial aid package for a more expensive school. So do not let your first choice go because you are not sure you can afford it. Take it step by step and see if it can be worked out. You may be surprised at the result. Even if your EFC seems a bit high, there are many ways to assist in covering that cost. Private loans, scholarships and grants are just a few of the possible sources of assistance after federal student loans.
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|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|