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The Financial Aid Handbook: Getting the Education You Want for the Price You Can Afford Paperback – April 1, 2011
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About the Author
Carol Stack is the former Director of Admissions at Macalester College and Augsburg College. For the past 15 years, Stack has worked as a principal at Hardwick-Day, an enrollment consulting firm that works with the admissions and financial aid offices of private colleges and universities. Through Hardwick-Day, she has consulted on financial aid policy at dozens of colleges, including Whittier, Grinnell, Mills, Randolph-Macon, and Xavier University.
Ruth Vedvik has held the position of Director of Admissions at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Ball State University, and Agnes Scott College. For the past 9 years, Vedvik has worked as a principal at Hardwick-Day, an enrollment consulting firm that works with the admissions and financial aid offices of private colleges and universities. Through Hardwick-Day, she has consulted on financial aid policy at dozens of colleges, including Whittier, Grinnell, Mills, Randolph-Macon, and Xavier University.
Top Customer Reviews
The book is well organized, separated into logical chapters, and neither patronizes nor overwhelms the reader, be they parent or student. It's matter of fact, but not dry; all 3 of us wound up chuckling occasionally.
My spouse, student and I read the book and teamed up to follow the advice suggested by the authors. My student was confident in their research,as were we. Rather than narrow the search, my student found an overwhelming number of colleges that were affordable for our middle class family. They were able to narrow their list to a dozen viable choices. After several phone interviews and college visits, our student asked to apply to 8 schools. They were accepted by 6 colleges, all within our means. Three of them offered substantial financial aid packages.
Our student is happily settled in their first year of one of the 3 colleges. My STUDENT suggested they take a work-study job to reduce the amount of their student loan. They got that wisdom from the book!
I gave a copy to my student's college counselor; he read it, loved it as well and is recommending it to parents. I strongly recommend it to you.
The book is 'new' in the sense that unlike some other handbooks the authors encourage college bound students and their parents to focus their college search on schools that 'will fund you' to go to their school. Even better, they show you how to do that!
In planning for filling out the FAFSA (for potential federal financial aid and low interest loans) and the CSS (a much longer, detailed form required by some private colleges to assist them in dispersing their funds), I was looking for a book to give me a baseline understanding of the process and provide honest advice regarding the process. Upon opening this book I was thrilled to find it was exactly what I'd hoped it would be - very helpful!
The book covers several topics related to admission and paying for college, but obviously (from the title...) it's mainly about paying for college and the process of how to get financial aid. The authors talk about the myths related to applying for aid, terminology related to forms, how much a family can expect to be responsible for (EFC - Estimated Family Contribution), merit awards, picking a college based upon cost, debt after college, comparing colleges, ratings and rankings of colleges, and having a plan 'b' when your first choice doesn't work out.
The book isn't on the most titillating of subjects, but it's fun to read. The authors write with a friendly tone, using humor when possible to bring home valuable points. The information is presented clearly, without a lot of excess information to confuse the reader, but none of it feels condescending. The chapters of the book are not too long or dry, and you can easily bounce between chapters if needed. It's simple, without being simplistic. I like it a lot, and see that it could be helpful to a lot of people.
All of the topics in this book are still relevant today, despite having been published in 2011. Reading it is an eye-opener, but it's also empowering. It gives both students and parents a look at the realities of this expensive journey into higher education and it also gives you hope that you'll find the right fit financially if you are smart about your search.
I'll be filling out the FAFSA and CSS forms during the first part of January and my daughter is currently applying to colleges. I'm happy I found this book as reading it has reaffirmed what I thought I knew about the subjects covered in the book, and taught me some new things about the process that only insiders with experience would know. I feel that my family is now better prepared for the challenges ahead and would recommend this book to any student seeking admission to college and any parent who is lost or overwhelmed by the process.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is starting the college process, especially juniors. There are things you can do now to better prepare yourself and to not be at the whim of all the marketing BS that colleges are putting out there. The authors also put some humor into it which makes the book much easier to read. The book is well arranged into sections so that a busy or not-so-interested parent can read 2 summary chapters and get something out of of it. This book will shift the entire way you think about college selection. In my opinion, this book is entirely worth the price and I think it will end up saving us thousands if not tens of thousands in the future.