Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series of stories on the college admissions process based on a talk Brookfield Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame inductee Brian Noble Jones gave to high school students on Sept. 20.
The cost of a college education is “undeniably an important component of your college search process,” said Brian Noble Jones, associate dean of admissions at Weslyan University, Middletown, Conn.
There are tools available to help potential applicants learn about what tuition assistance is available, and what might be available to them.
One tool is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It determines the potential for grants and loans that are available from the federal government. Some colleges and universities use it to determine how they distribute their own financial aid, Jones said.
Another tool is the Net Price Calculator, which is required by law and is found on the web site of every college and university, he said. It uses the information on your family’s tax transcripts.
promo“That will spit out what that school expects your family to be able to contribute to your education every year, and it will also provide a glimpse into how they expect to be able to meet your demonstrated need,” Jones said. “Take advantage of these tools and spend some time with them so you know in advance how a school might be able to help you out.”
When a school approves an applicant for admission, the school will send the applicant an estimated family contribution, which could include available loans, grants and scholarships.
Jones has worked for small and large public and private schools. “Both realms have a lot of resources. Some of the smaller schools are a little bit more nimble in terms of how they’re able to package, fund your education.”
Smaller schools have “a larger pool of money relative to the size of their student body. They will commit to meeting what you have demonstrated in terms of need.”