Financial Aid & Scholarships in College
Hello RCDS Seniors!
If paying for college is a concern, start to research different funding sources NOW. The better you understand this process, the less stressful and more successful it will be!
Pro Tip: BOOKMARK AND READ THIS ENTIRE PAGE!!!
How does Financial Aid Work?
Demonstrated financial need is how much financial assistance a family will need to cover the cost of attendance at college. This figure relies on two data points—a family’s expected family contribution and the cost of attendance at that specific college.
The expected family contribution (EFC) is how much a family is projected to be able to contribute towards the cost of attendance at any college and is determined by the calculations generated by the FAFSA. Generally, the higher the family’s income and the more assets a family has, the higher the EFC will be.
The cost of attendance (COA) is the total sticker price at that particular institution. This includes room, board, tuition, any necessary fees, and essential personal expenses that a student will that school for one full academic year.
Demonstrated financial need is the gap between the EFC and the COA. This is what financial aid from colleges will attempt to cover.
There are two types of scholarships:
- Need-based scholarships/grants are based on your family income. You will need to submit forms called FAFSA, CSS Profile, and TAP (NY residents only), as well as documentation of your parent's income for need-based aid. These forms are usually submitted in October of your senior year.
- Merit-based scholarships are based on a talent you have. Merit scholarships could be given for excellence in athletics, art/music, leadership, SAT scores, grades, or community service.
The key to receiving scholarships is applying for them. It will take some grunt work to find appropriate scholarships and to complete the paperwork, but it is worth the effort.
Have questions you'd like to have answered on this page? Submit them to us and we will post the answers here for anyone else that might want to know.
Can I get a rough idea of how much I am going to have to pay?
All colleges have a Net Price Calculator on their website. It estimates based on family income, family size, and assets how much you will actually have to pay at a given school. Clicking here will help you find all of your colleges calculators for financial aid estimates. Some of the most selective colleges in the country partner with a site named myintution.org. You can attempt to find your colleges on that site using this link. PLEASE ENSURE YOU DO THIS WITH YOUR FAMILY!
How do I know which colleges will meet my financial need and which colleges will gap me?
If you are concerned about affording college, talk to your college counselor. Much like you have reaches, targets, and likely schools on your list, you should also have schools that you are confident will be affordable for you in the end.
A good place to begin your search process is by looking at schools that will be affordable no matter how little need-based and merit-based aid you receive, like the public colleges in your city or state of residence (CUNY, SUNY, UConn)
You should also explore colleges that meet 100% of demonstrated financial need for applicants. A comprehensive list can be found here.
What if I have a complicated family and/or financial situation?
The RCDS College Counseling Office and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (Mr. Morgan) have a long history of working with VERY complicated situations regarding financial aid, and we are more than happy to provide whatever assistance we are able to help you and your family get as much support as possible.
Pro Tip: Have questions you'd like to have answered in this section? Click here and submit them to us and we will post the answers here for anyone else that might want to know.