After looking at the costs of several institutions, it can leave you wondering, how are students able to afford a college education? Well, most students do not pay the full “sticker price” of the college they attend. When it comes to paying for college in New Hampshire, money is available in the form of grants, low-interest loans, special merit or need-based scholarships, and work-study programs. Financial aid can make the most expensive college affordable.

Over 70% of college students receive some form of financial aid. However, it is important to note that families are still expected to contribute to the costs of higher education. Family contributions can be met through a variety of options including:

  • Savings
  • Tuition Payment Plans
  • Federal Parent Loans
  • Federal/Private Student Loans

“While parents and students are expected to take primary responsibility for paying postsecondary education, financial aid can make college affordable. Encourage students and parents to talk early as a family about what you can afford to pay toward higher education costs.”

How Financial Aid is Awarded

The financial aid process may seem complicated, but in its simplest form it comes down to understanding five steps:

  1. You must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) soon after January 1 of the year you intend to enroll in school. Check with each of the colleges to which you apply for specific deadlines. Be certain to ask if any other supplemental forms (such as the CSS PROIFLE Form) are required.
  • After completing the FAFSA, your information is submitted to the U.S. Department of Education. The Department calculates, based on a complex methodology, your ability to pay for the cost of attendance. Your ability to pay is called the EXPECTED FAMILY CONTRIBUTION (EFC). The factors used in determining the EFC include: parent and student annual income and assets, family size, number of family members attending college, taxes paid, and more.
  1. The Department of Education sends the FAFSA information, including the EFC, to every school you listed on the FAFSA. The financial aid officers subtract your EFC from the COST OF ATTENDANCE* to determine your eligibility for financial aid.
  • The financial aid officer calculates, based on the campus’ available resources, the amount of financial aid the institution is able to offer the family. BE AWARE: Because a student is eligible for a certain amount of financial aid does not mean the student is guaranteed to receive that amount. The unmet need is called the GAP.
  1. The financial aid officer sends the student an AWARD LETTER that details the amount of financial aid the college is able to offer the student. The aid is broken into categories of “loans,” “grants,” “scholarships” and “work-study”.

Need help with your financial aid paperwork? Contact the college’s financial aid office or the Center for College Planning at (800) 525-2577 x 119.

File Your Financial Aid Forms Online

FAFSA on the Web

CSS Profile Online


Cost of Attendance $35,000
– EFC $  9,000
= Eligibility for Aid $26,000
   Aid Offered $18,000


$  7,500


Cost of Attendance $18,000
– EFC $  9,000
= Eligibility for Aid $  9,000
   Aid Offered $  4,500


$  4,500

GAP + EFC = the amount to be paid by the family in order to cover college expenses.

Example A = $16,500 | Example B = $13,500