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Nitro Knowledge. Your Guide to Paying for College.


If you’re planning on attending college next fall, be on the alert: the time to file your Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is as close to October 1, 2018 as possible.

While technically you can complete your FAFSA anytime through summer of 2020, in the financial aid world, the early bird gets the worm. There are three due dates you’ll need to keep an eye on:

  • The federal due date
  • Your school’s due date, and
  • The state’s due date.

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The FAFSA form (a.k.a., the Free Application for Federal Student Aid) — the application required to qualify for financial aid — is changing yet again. If you're applying for financial aid this year, you'll want to understand these changes in order for the process to go smoothly. 

A quick overview:

  • A new, higher income limit to qualify for a zero Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
  • A  redesigned website that will hopefully make it easier to complete the form on a variety of devices, and
  • Faster, in-form error notifications.
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How many times have you looked at your financial aid award letter and wondered, “What am I reading?”

If your answer is, “too many to count,” you’re not alone. The terminology around financial aid can be so confusing. Fortunately, we’re here to help you. Today,  we're going to unravel the mysteries of the Stafford Loan.

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One of the most important parts of choosing a college is figuring out the price tag.

As you've probably realized by now, that's not just a simple tuition number. Adding up costs and subtracting your financial aid offerings are all part of the equation.

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You may have thought your financial aid award letter would answer one burning question: how much does this school cost? But, as you may have noticed, many schools don’t include the cost of tuition in financial aid award letters. 

On top of that, your financial aid allocations can be ... confusing. Can you imagine buying anything else in life without knowing the price, or what kind of discount you might be receiving? Probably not. 

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Can't decipher the award letter from your school's financial aid office? Here are some of the most commonly used abbreviations and what they stand for.

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Best Banks for Private Student Loans in 2017. Get Your Rate.
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