BOSTON – Paying for college is a daunting challenge, but State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield), Vice Chairman of the Committee on Higher Education, wants students and their families to know that help is available, particularly through free assistance from TERI (The Education Resources Institute).
In 2008 Massachusetts college students secured more than $1 billion in grants and low-interest loans from federal and state governments, as well as millions of dollars in scholarships from colleges and universities. Students and their families should know these resources exist. Applicants may find they need assistance navigating the complex process of seeking out and applying for financial aid; Downing notes that free guidance is available throughout the process.
“Time is of the essence, and students planning to attend college next fall should begin the financial aid application process now,” said Downing. “Students should apply early – as soon after January 1st as possible – and investigate all possible sources of aid.”
Federal and state governments, along with colleges and universities, are the major sources of financial aid. Students begin the process of applying for both federal and state aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is available online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Many private colleges and universities also require a second form, the CSS PROFILE ®, which is available at The College Board’s website: www.collegeboard.com.
To receive free guidance on identifying sources of financial aid and completing applications, students and families throughout Massachusetts may call TERI’s toll-free information hotline at 1-877-332-4348.