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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
1.0
4.0
SAT: 720 math
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800

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How do I demonstrate financial need to colleges?

I’m a bit lost with the financial aid process, and I want to make sure I do it right. What are the steps to demonstrating financial need when applying for colleges? Are there any tips to ensure that I present my situation accurately?

7 months ago

Hey there! Navigating the financial aid process can indeed be a bit confusing, but no worries, I've got your back. To demonstrate financial need, you’ll primarily be working with two forms: the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and, for some private colleges, the CSS Profile.

The FAFSA is your gatekeeper to federal financial aid, and it's used by colleges to determine your need for financial aid. It takes into account your family’s income, assets, and other financial obligations to calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The lower your EFC, the more financial need you have. It's super important to complete the FAFSA accurately and submit it as soon as it opens on October 1st for the next academic year.

Now, some colleges also require the CSS Profile, which provides a more detailed financial picture and is used for institutional aid, so check if your colleges list that as a requirement.

My tip? Gather your financial information early, like tax returns and bank statements, and use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to ensure accuracy if you’re eligible. And don't hesitate to contact the financial aid office of the colleges you're applying to if you need help or have special circumstances—they're there to help!

7 months ago

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