University Shares Smart Ways to Pay for College
Money shouldn’t be a greater concern than grades
when it comes to getting into college— and experts
say it doesn’t have to be. In fact,
you can likely find financial aid to pay for the college
of your choice—as long as you know
where to look.
“People don’t understand that financial aid
can give them access to any university they choose. Many
times, they’re afraid of the price, but the college’s
cost doesn’t necessarily mean that that is what
a family is going to pay,” says J. Bruce Gardiner,
dean of admissions and financial aid at Lehigh University
in Bethlehem, Pa.
According to Gardiner, the best strategy for applying
for financial aid is to become familiar with available
resources. “The majority of the nation’s colleges
and universities employ staff who are ready to help
applicants navigate through financial aid forms and answer
related questions,” he adds. Gardiner offers this
• Choose the schools, private and state, that best
fit your interests and expectations.
• Ask these schools for information describing their
admission and financial aid application
• Fill out your income tax forms in January. You’ll
need the forms to help you fill out the Free Application
for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is due early in
• Obtain the FAFSA form in English or Spanish from
your school or from the Internet at www.fafsa.ed.gov.
• If you’d like to complete the FAFSA form
online, you’ll need a PIN number. To ask for this
number, go to www.pin.ed.gov. Only those with a Social
Security number can obtain a PIN.
• If you do not have a Social Security number you
may fill out the FAFSA but send it directly to the schools
you’re applying to,rather than to the federal government.
Some universities accept the FAFSA in order to award financial
aid from their institutional funds.
• Complete the FAFSA form, preferably in February.
If you encounter problems in doing so, ask for help from
an advisor at your school or from the admissions offices
of the universities to which you’re applying.
• Wait for a reply to your FAFSA application. There
are other forms you may need to fill out before you can
be considered for financial aid.
Just remember that applying for financial aid and applying
to schools are two different things. The applications
separate and may have different deadlines.
“Remember, too, don’t limit your options based
on price alone, because funding is available,” says
For more information, visit www.lehigh.edu/assistance.
Dina M. Silver, APR
Director of University Marketing Communications
125 Goodman Drive
Bethlehem, PA 18015-3754
courtesy of Saint Michael's College