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Financial Aid Process

Your Financial Plan

After looking at the costs of several institutions, it can leave you wondering, how are students able to afford a college education? Well, most students do not pay the full “sticker price” of the college they attend. When it comes to paying for college, money is available in the form of grants, fixed interest loans, special merit or need-based scholarships, and work-study programs. Financial aid can make the most expensive college affordable.

Financial Aid Insider 2023

College Financing Tool

Utilize our free tool to plan for the long-term costs of college and better understand your return on investment in your education.


Before College

  1. Apply for financial aid
    1. FAFSA, CSS profile, scholarship applications
    2. FAFSA and CSS profile open on October 1st the year before you will attend college; check each college where you plan to apply for their financial aid application deadline
  2. Receive & review your financial aid offers from colleges (with or after your acceptance letters)
  3. Use our College Financing Tool to help understand your out of pocket expense and possible loan options
  4. Consider your options and make your decisions- you are not obligated to anything you are offered, including student loans
  5. Accept your financial aid offer
    1. NoteIf a student opts to take a gap year, their admittance can be deferred, but not their financial aid offer. They will need to reapply, including refiling a FAFSA, for the year they intend to start school.


During College

  1. Understand how to maintain your eligibility for financial aid
    1. If you have a merit-based scholarship, there is most likely a GPA requirement that must be maintained throughout the duration of the scholarship
    2. Many financial aid programs require students to be enrolled at least half time or even full time, so keep up your credits, too
  2. Re-file your FAFSA and reapply for any other renewed aid (like outside/private scholarships) each year you are in school
  3. Continue to search and apply for additional aid, including scholarships from your college
  4. Before graduation, determine requirements to exit your financial aid programs


After College

  1. Enter repayment of any student loans. Federal student loan offers a 6 month grace period after obtaining a degree.

Additional Funding Options

Financial Aid for Special Populations

Learn about financial aid options for non-citizens, undocumented students, international students, and students studying in a foreign country.

EdvestinU Private Student Loan

EdvestinU is The NHHEAF Network's private student loan program. Private loans can help close the gap between total college costs and financial aid.

Need Help?

NHHEAF’s Center for College Planning is dedicated to serving all students throughout their education and career planning journeys, for free!