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College-bound advice from the experts at Florida Institute of Technology

Financial aid – two words that can make or a break a college decision. While college-bound seniors may be more focused on campus life, parents are consumed by the big question: “Can we afford this investment?”
While it’s informative to look at a university’s total tuition and fees, or “sticker price,” during the college search process, it’s more important to understand that a student’s actual investment is typically much less. The vast majority of college students receive financial aid, a combination of scholarships, grants and loans. Rarely does anyone pay full tuition and fees out-of-pocket, so what you really need to focus on is net cost.
A great place to begin, no matter where you are in your search process, is a college’s net price calculator. (To find one on any college website, type “net price calculator” into its search bar.) Using income and academic information supplied by the user, these calculators provide a realistic estimate of what kind of aid you can expect from a certain college. More importantly, they give you a clear idea of the out-of-pocket investment you can expect to make. This can help you make an educated decision about the colleges on your list and assist in future planning.
A valuable next step would be for you to dig deep into the financial aid web page of each college on your list. Learn all you can about institutional scholarships, grants and other incentives. You want to make sure you are doing everything in your power to maximize your eligibility for awards, so look for special requirements. You might have to provide supplementary material, check an extra box or two on your application, or fill out a form—but you won’t know unless you explore.
At Florida Tech, for example, your financial aid package could go up by $2,000 per year if you simply visit campus and connect with one of our graduates, who can submit an Alumni Endorsement Grant form on your behalf. Scholarships for athletes, transfers and students who participate in extracurricular activities such as FIRST Robotics and scouting are available as well.
Once you have applied and been admitted to one or more universities, there’s no better way to maximize your financial aid package than by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after Jan. 1 of your senior year. The FAFSA helps colleges determine something called “need,” or the difference between what your family can afford and what your out-of-pocket costs are expected to be. This means that completing the FAFSA can open the door to scholarships, grants and loans for which you would not otherwise be considered. You may think, “My family makes too much money,” or “There’s no way I will qualify for aid,” but the truth is, you will never know unless you file. The FAFSA is free, so why wouldn’t you take advantage of it?
Our final recommendation: Seek guidance from experts. Financial aid counselors are experts who want to help. Not only can they guide you through paperwork and processes, but they love to give helpful money tips. (Where do you think we got all this great advice?) So reach out out and ask your questions. Your future is within your grasp, and probably more affordable than you think.
To see what a high quality, highly accurate Net Price Calculator looks like, give Florida Tech’s a try:

In many ways, that was true: Apple’s experience has always mattered more than its specs, and the iPad mini converted buyers and fans alike despite the compromises. But even for those who bought Apple’s tablet, there was one feature noticeably missing: a bright, beautiful, high-resolution Retina display. Without one, the Apple experience feels obfuscated in ways both literal and figurative.

This year, the iPad mini with Retina display really is every inch an iPad. It’s no longer out of date, or worse in any way. It comes with the same A7 processor as the new iPad Air, the same storage and connectivity options, the same battery life, and — most importantly — a Retina display with the same resolution. For $399 with 16GB of storage, it’s everything the iPad Air can be — only smaller and $100 cheaper.

Last year, Apple needed to convince us that specs didn’t make the iPad. This year, equality isn’t just about offering the same look and the same apps – it’s about offering the exact same experience. Now, like the MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air and like every TV you’ve ever purchased, there isn’t a better option and a cheaper option. There are just two options: iPad Air and iPad mini.


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