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College costs even more than you thought it did

NPR has a helpful article on little-known costs of college. My two favorite takeaways: 1) Students living at home aren’t always saving money because they get less access to aid, and 2) Financial aid calculators overestimate how much parents can pay. Take a few minutes to read their 6 key findings.

New FAFSA rules help grandparents contribute

With future FAFSA forms now using tax returns from two years prior (known as “prior prior” in the college world), that adds another year that family members can help pay for college without it negatively affecting financial aid eligibility. First, some quick background: The three main factors used to calculate financial aid eligibility are Non-retirement…

3 things to consider before making your college decision

By Chris Wills   May 1 is National College Decision Day, the deadline for students to make deposits to attend the college of their choice. But before you send in that check, here are three important things to consider:   1. Affordability is part of fit   Many students choose their college based on academic…

Beware of bait-and-switch pricing

This helpful article from US News and World Report points out the financial aid award you receive only applies to the first year and some colleges reduce aid in subsequent years (or students don’t meet the criteria to continue to qualify). Either way, if combined with tuition increases, your family could be paying a lot…

How is an independent educational consultant different from a HS counselor?

Shane Bybee, owner of of Bybee College Prep, writes a wonderful explanation of how independent educational consultants (IECs) like College Inside Track complement the terrific work being done by high school counselors.

11 Common FAFSA mistakes

We recommend families always complete the FAFSA because you need it to receive any need-based aid, and even if you don’t qualify for financial aid based on your income, some colleges award merit aid (sometimes a few thousand dollars) just for completing it. With some recent changes to the FAFSA, the US Dept of Education recently shared a…

Holiday gift cards for college

You can give gift cards for Amazon, iTunes, and your favorite restaurant, so why not college? Check out this creative idea featured in the Chicago Tribune that you may want to share with your relatives!

5 mistakes when contacting college coaches

In a helpful article on The College Solution, Jon Fugler, Founder of Recruit-Me, highlights 5 common mistakes when contacting college coaches and advises aspiring student-athletes to create a well crafted introductory packet that introduces the athlete to the coach in a very personal way, providing just the right info to generate interest without turning into…


By now you may have received a notice from the colleges to which your student has applied that they need a FAFSA. While you may not yet have even started to think about your tax return, it is not too early to complete your FAFSA. The first thing you should do is go to FAFSA.gov.…

5 Steps to a Successful College Essay

Write your essays in five easy steps  1. Get Started Decide on a deadline and mark it on your calendar. Break the task down into smaller parts: starting date, completion date, and working dates in between when you will write. Decide what you want the college admissions office to know about you that isn’t spelled out in…