Magazine article Online

FinAid and fastWEB-Two for the Money!

Magazine article Online

FinAid and fastWEB-Two for the Money!

Article excerpt

Two excellent sources of information on student financial aid are available free on the World Wide Web. FinAid (http://www.finaid.org) provides a comprehensive and objective pathway through the maze of financing a college education, giving multiple links to types of aid sources, loans, vendors and services in the financial aid world, discussion lists, and tools for selecting aid and computing the dollars. One of its most useful links is to fastWEB (http://www.fastweb.com), where you can create a personal profile and register to be informed about which of 275,000 aid sources you qualify for.

FinAid is the creation of Mark Kantrowitz, author of The Prentice Hall Guide to Scholarships and Fellowships for Math and Science Students, and is sponsored by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. (NASFAA). This is an independent collection of fast-changing hotlinks to everything you always wanted to know about government and private student aid and related subjects, including personal finance, admissions testing, college planning, and career resources. In addition to an overview of financial aid, it provides an "Ask the Aid Advisor" service and a "Scam Alert," a useful addition in this hot field. Among other scholarship search services, it includes buttons to access fastWEB and fastWEB Canada.

FastWEB Scholarship Search

FastWEB claims a place as the Internet's first and largest free scholarship service. It contains an online searchable database of more than 275,000 private sector scholarships, fellowships, grants, and loans from more than 10,000 sources worth over $775 million. Approximately 500 new awards are added to the database each day.

You must register and select a password to use the service; subsequent visits require you to enter your last name and password to access your personalized mailbox. Then follows the rather lengthy step of creating a personal profile. Users must provide a lot of personal data, including name, major area of study, academic interest, hobbies and interests, prior/current employment, and parental information. This seems intrusive-and it is-but one must remember the large number of private funding organizations in the U.S. that make awards according to an almost infinite variety of criteria. If you have ever scanned a long list of scholarships that stipulate that the recipient must be (for example) the second-born child of bilingual parents who have lived in a particular state, worked for a particular company, or been members of a particular religion or civic group, you will realize the need for patience and thoroughness as you work through the profile. …

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