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Student loan application with a pen and a piggy bank

With the rising costs of higher education, earning a college degree and getting a good job after graduating can seem daunting. To help residents achieve this goal, Massachusetts provides information and resources to guide students and their families through the process of applying to college and for financial aid. College application deadlines are quickly approaching for most public and private institutions of higher education – in most cases, early decision applications must be submitted by late fall and regular admission applications must be submitted by the end of the calendar year – so now is the time to make sure you have all the necessary information to get started.

Search and Application Process: For Students

  • Applying to college is an exciting process, but it requires information, time, and money.  Most colleges and universities require students to submit testing data, so as you start the application process, you should be sure you have fulfilled all of the necessary testing requirements.
    • Some colleges and universities may require applicants to submit additional test information, so you should visit a school’s website and review application requirements before applying.
  • Choosing which and how many schools to apply to can be a difficult decision. If you apply to a small number of colleges or universities, you could be limiting your options because these institutions do not accept all students. However, applying to many institutions requires additional effort and money.
    • There are resources available online that can help match you to different types of colleges and universities based on elements such as location, cost, degree programs, extracurricular activities, enrollment, athletics, and other factors.
    • If you have done your research and know which college you want to attend, you can apply early, which means that you will find out if you have been accepted by the end of the calendar year instead of next spring.
  • And while you’re in the groove of applying to colleges, it’s a good time to start applying for scholarships and other types of financial aid because every little bit helps.

Scholarship, Grant, and Loan Search: For Students and Families

  • The first step in applying for financial aid is to look at the different types of assistance available which do not have to be paid back. For example, colleges and universities, as well as private and community-based organizations, may offer aid through need- or merit-based scholarships, grants, work study opportunities, and other types of awards and programs.

A college education is a valuable resource in today’s economy but financing one shouldn’t deter anyone from doing so. Even President Barack Obama is taking steps to make college more affordable for students and their families.

With these resources to help pay for college, earning a degree doesn’t have to be stressful. By planning ahead and taking full advantage of available loans, grants, and scholarships, all students can attend college and start on a path to a bright and successful future.

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