Financial aid

A College Degree from UW-Madison Will Cost You $100,968 (If You’re Lucky)

Choosing a college has become a six-figure decision. Unfortunately, many families assume they’ll pay much less because the primary cost of instruction — tuition and fees — can be far less than the “Cost of Attendance“, an official estimate created by each college that also includes room & board, books, travel and miscellaneous expenses for an average full-time freshman. That’s why I prefer to talk about Cost of Attendance (COA) with families, because no matter where junior goes to college,…

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The Cold Weather Survival Guide to Financial Aid and the FAFSA

A friend and client emailed me asking for guidance on the FAFSA because the financial aid night at the local high school was cancelled last night due to the extreme cold weather. So with her prompting I’m writing this very concise guide to financial aid that won’t answer all your questions, but will help you with the basics and point you in the right direction…at least until your laptop thaws out. What forms do I have to fill out? Both the student…

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Paying for College: A Primer for Using the FAFSA

Fact: College is expensive.  Fact: You knew that already… So how do you manage to pay for a very expensive item, when you don’t even know how much it will cost? A good place to start is with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. Step 1: Make sure you’re at the correct website: and not, which charges you a fee to file your FAFSA…which is free to do, by the way. That’s what the first…

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