How much will college cost? Every college is required to have a “net price calculator” on their website that will provide students a ballpark estimate of the cost to attend, using information entered by the student.

Students can access financial aid through four sources: Federal, State, College/University, and outside private scholarships. The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the form that all colleges and universities require. It is available starting October 1st. An additional application that many private colleges and universities require, the CSS Profile, asks for in-depth information for the purpose of awarding students their privately managed money. Check the college’s financial aid website to see if the CSS Profile is required. Some colleges and universities have their own application process for funds. The FAFSA and CSS Profile are the two primary applications that students and parents complete for the purpose of applying for loans or grants.  Families should plan on completing both if the student intends to apply to a range of colleges and universities.

There is a range of possibilities open to students to supplement the rising cost of higher education. The most important advice the Guidance Department and Massachusetts Educational Financing Authory (MEFA) gives to students and parents is to stay on top of application deadlines!  Students and families need a system to organize both college and scholarship applications. Too often, students miss opportunities by not having the application prepared in a timely manner. If you need further information or wish to discuss your particular concern, we encourage you to make an appointment with your school counselor to go through these options or answer your particular questions.

Work-study is another funding option commonly used by students. Work-study programs allow students to work part-time on or near campus while in college. Students are paid directly for the hours that they work, and these funds supplement any financial aid award students may receive. Students are asked on the FAFSA application if they intend to consider Work Study as an option to supplement income during the academic school year.

College Board’s Financial Aid page offers three steps to getting financial aid and other useful information. College websites also include  planners as well as more specific information to the institutions’ merit and need-based aid programs.

Online Scholarship Resources

There are numerous websites that provide extensive free information and search engines for both need-based and merit scholarships. Some of the most widely used are FastWebFinAid School Soup and College Answer.

Town of Weston Scholarships

Organizations within the Town of Weston offer need-based scholarships to students. To be considered for any of these town scholarships, students must complete the Weston Town Scholarship Application and the FAFSA. Please be aware that a copy of the Student Aid Report (SAR) pages of the FAFSA must be attached to the application. Some committees award money to the student directly while others send money directly to the institution to which the student is matriculating. Click on the links below to review Town of Weston scholarships:

Weston Veterans Memorial Education Fund (WVMEF) (included in Weston Town Scholarship Application)
The WVMEF welcomes applications from WHS graduates who are currently attending college. Applicants should use the same form that high school seniors use, but should also include appropriate information about their college experience. Forms should be submitted through the high school guidance office to assure consideration by the committee.

The WEA (Weston Education Association) Scholarship is awarded to a student who expresses a deep interest in teaching as a career.

Other Scholarships

Businesses and organizations often provide scholarships based on your intent to pursue a specific interest, major or profession. Some provide scholarships to dependents of employees. The Guidance office compiles binders of scholarships as well as lists many in Naviance.

Outside scholarships provide another source of financial aid for students. Most of the scholarships are need-based, but some are also merit scholarships.  The sponsoring agencies and interest groups vary significantly in terms of threshold qualifications ranging from parent occupation to areas of interest for future study. Families should note, however, that students should avoid organizations that charge a fee for “assisting students and parents in finding scholarships.” We have found that such agencies and organizations rarely produce information worthy of expense.

Many colleges and universities have their own scholarship money, typically awarded to students who ultimately matriculate to that institution. Often an application is required. Please contact the Guidance office to learn about specific scholarship information from a particular school. The University of Massachusetts system has two types of scholarships for students: the “John and Abigail Adams Scholarship” and the “Stanley Z. Koplik Certificate of Mastery.”  While these two scholarships both waive tuition costs, there are important differences in eligibility requirements and the application process. Students planning on applying to the University of Massachusetts should investigate these funding sources. At Weston High School, Maryann Shea, is the coordinator of these scholarships. For more information, please contact Maryann via email at sheam@weston.org.