College Financial Planning

College Financial Planning
By Jennifer Varnell, Assistant Director of Education, School Counseling Services, Laurel Springs


If your child is in high school, your family may be preparing for the college application process. One aspect of the college admissions process that can feel confusing for some families is financial aid. There are many types of financial assistance for college, including need-based aid, merit scholarships, and grants.


How do we know where to begin?


The first step many families take is to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) worksheet, which can be submitted online. This worksheet is an excellent starting point for parents and students to better understand the information required by federal and state governments who determine financial aid. At Laurel Springs, our students begin planning for college during the first year of high school, when our school counselors create custom academic plans that meet the goals of individual students. By the time our students are seniors, they are well-prepared to manage the college application process.


What financial aid options should we pursue?


Students and their families can investigate what financial aid programs specific colleges offer. Private and state institutions have a variety of scholarship options, so it is important for students to understand what financial aid plans may be available to them. One key component of many programs is the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) which is what a university determines that an individual family should contribute toward the cost of college, based on their particular financial circumstances. Laurel Springs School Counselors have years of expertise in helping students and their families understand the many options available to them for financial aid. As a result, our graduates are accepted into the colleges of their choice, and receive substantial financial aid from a variety of sources.