11 Tips to Mastering the FAFSA

Cash for College

In a continuing trend of a widening gap between the cost of higher education and the family income required to pay it, 2012 is shaping up to be a struggle for parents and a boon for colleges, nonprofit or not. For financial aid expert Kal Chany, the corporatizing of higher education is driving the trend. “Most people assume that a college’s aid office is looking out for their best interests, but that’s not the case,” says Chany, author of Paying for College Without Going Broke, a guide now in its 20th edition with a foreword by Bill Clinton. “In reality there’s a lot of aid leveraging, and they are just trying to figure out the least amount they can offer you and still have you attend their school.” With that in mind, families planning for a child to attend college this year need to view the process as a negotiation, dependent as much on presenting a good case as on meeting the raw numbers. With the fundamental Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) changing every year and forming the basis for many students’ aid eligibility, Chany shares some essential tips for planning education financing in 2012. Photo Credit: Getty Images