Show them the money, for college

November 23, 1998|By Bob Suter | Bob Suter,NEWSDAY

This is the season when parents of college-bound students come to grips with the reality of their child's educational future. Coupled with decisions about what course of study to pursue and where to pursue it is the stressful process of determining how to pay for it.

Repeatedly, you're told of innumerable scholarships, funds and grants for college students. But what is your student really eligible for?

You can pay the equivalent of a lawyer's fee to a professional to guide you through the financial aid quagmire. You can try to educate yourself with the hefty volumes from the bookstore. Or, you can enlist the aid of a research scientist.

Mark Kantrowitz is a researcher at the Justsystem Pittsburgh Research Center who also has worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Artificial Intelligence Lab. A doctoral candidate at Carnegie-Mellon University, he holds bachelor's degrees in mathematics and philosophy and a master's in computer science.

He also has a Web site (www.finaid.org) widely regarded as the most useful and comprehensive source of information on college financial aid anywhere.

Author of "The Prentice Hall Guide to Scholarships and Fellowships for Math and Science Students," Kantrowitz has devoted countless hours to this site for college students.

Eight categories of options arranged in three columns cover the what, where and how of financial aid. Much of this is accompanied by Kantrowitz's advice about the benefits and pitfalls of aid packages, including tax liabilities.

You'll find help in filling out those confusing financial-aid forms, including calculators - some of Kantrowitz's own design - to help you determine what you can afford and what you'll need from other sources. And you'll find much about those other sources.

In a separate bar along the bottom of the page are links to seven of the best scholarship and fellowship databases.

Pub Date: 11/23/98

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