Don't think that college is out of reach because of cost. After 8.5 years of  putting two sons through college, I've learned a few things along the way.  One of the first things to do when financing a college education is to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

  1. The application is free.  Don't pay to apply for financial aid.
  2. Apply early.  Be first in line to let colleges know that financial aid is needed. Don't procrastinate and miss a deadline. First week in January is good.
  3. Don't rule out private colleges.  Sometimes with financial aid, it can be cheaper to go to a private private school than public university.
  4. You can file your FAFSA before filing your income taxes.  An estimate is fine and the FAFSA can be corrected later.
  5. There's plenty of free help out there.  High school student councilors are a great resource for learning about scholarships. FAME (Finance Authority of Maine) is another good place for information.
  6. Don't think that you make too much money to apply for college aid.
For more college aid details, here's an interview with Jessica Whittier, College Access Counselor with FAME: