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Financial Aid


Financial Aid Vocabulary

Click here for definitions for common financial aid terms.


The Massachusetts Educational Financial Authority (MEFA) is a non-profit organization that strives to make college more accessible and affordable for Massachusetts students and families. MEFA helps families, plan, save and pay for college.


Nearly every student is eligible for some form of financial aid. FAFSA is the application used by nearly all colleges and universities to determine eligibility for federal, state and college-sponsored financial aid, including grants, educational loans, and work-study programs.

CSS Profile

The CSS PROFILE is required by some private colleges and universities to determine eligibility for non-government financial aid, such as the institution's own grants, loans and scholarships. Click HERE for an overview of the of the CSS PROFILE


The biggest differences between the CSS PROFILE and the FAFSA are:

  • Specific questions: The CSS PROFILE contains questions specific to the school or program you're applying to; FAFSA contains the same questions for everyone.
  • Different methodology: The CSS PROFILE determines your financial need differently than the FAFSA, taking into account such factors as whether your family owns a home. In general, the CSS PROFILE asks for more detailed information than FAFSA.
  • Minimum student contribution: The CSS PROFILE requires this; the FAFSA doesn't.
  • Greater reliance on professional judgment: The CSS PROFILE gives financial aid counselors greater freedom to grant aid based on a student's particular circumstances.
  • Cost: CSS PROFILE costs $9.00 to register plus $16 for each school or scholarship program selected; the FAFSA, as the name implies, is free.


To access the CSS PROFILE click HERE

My College Cost Calculator

This website allows families to compare college costs by factoring in financial aid and viewing the resulting net price.


Loan Payment Calculator

This website displays the monthly loan payment amount and total loan cost (based on the amount families plan to borrow) for each MEFA loan repayment type.


AG’s Office Partners with uAspire to Help Students Understand Financial Aid Award Letters


        BOSTON – As colleges and universities begin sending financial aid award letters to prospective students throughout Massachusetts, Attorney General Maura Healey has launched a campaign to help educate families about their higher education options and understand how to pay for them.


        Last year, the AG’s Office and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce created a Student Debt Working Group to develop concrete proposals to help Massachusetts students pursue quality, affordable higher education. This new initiative is the result of a partnership between the AG’s Office and uAspire – a Working Group member and nonprofit organization that provides students with counseling and tools to find an affordable path to and through college.


        AG Healey’s campaign – located at – includes helpful graphics, sample forms, tips, and resources online to help students and families understand and compare financial aid award letters and determine the amount of money they’ll need to pay for college. While acceptance letters are typically straightforward, the financial aid award letters can be confusing, hard to compare, and vary greatly from school to school. Too often, the AG’s Office hears that students did not realize how much they would owe until after finishing school.


The AG’s first-in-the-nation Student Loan Assistance Unit has helped student borrowers understand their repayment options, resolve defaulted loans, apply for discharges, and mediate billing disputes with loan servicers.  Each year, the Unit receives hundreds of calls from students and parents who are struggling with student loan debt.  Borrowers with student loan problems are encouraged to file aStudent Loan Request for Assistance to get help.  Students and parents with questions or concerns about financial aid award letters should call the Student Loan Assistance Unit’s hotline at 1-888-830-6277 or fill out an Award Letter Help Request.


Students and families can also get individual help by bringing award letters to a seminar  hosted by MEFA. They may also call or visit an American Student Assistance College Planning Center in Boston or Brockton where counselors are available to help, or go to American Student Assistance’s website for helpful resources. Students are also advised to use to learn more about each school, including the costs of attendance, graduation rates, and the average earnings of graduates.

Selective Service

All men must register with Selective service within 30 days on his 18th birthday. Click HERE.

Male students must register for selective service to qualify for federal financial aid.

Office of Student Financial Assistance

The mission of the Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance is to promote and enhance access to higher education by delivering quality student financial aid information and services to residents of the Commonwealth, and thus ensuring that they have an opportunity to enrich their lives and contribute to the economic development and social progress of the state.

Not Sure Where to Begin? Find the Information You Need Online





Fill out the FAFSA

Basic FAFSA info: What is it and how do you fill it out

Dependency status for FAFSA purposes

How aid is calculated (including link to detailed EFC info)

Types of Aid/ Getting Aid

Types of Financial Aid

Who can get federal student aid

Pell Lifetime Eligibility Used

Finding and applying for scholarships

Loan interest rates and fees

Avoiding financial aid scams

Repaying Loans

Loan repayment

Income-Driven Payment Plans

Repayment Estimator (compares repayment plans)

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Loan forgiveness in general

Loan forgiveness for teachers

College Prep

College Preparation Checklist: checklists for academic and financial preparation, for elementary school through adult students

Why go to college (education and pay/unemployment rates)


Special Audience.

Info for parents (tax benefits, support your child, college costs)

Graduate school funding


Financial aid for adult students

Aid for military families

Going to college in another country

Social Media

@FAFSA Twitter feed

Federal Student Aid YouTube channel

Federal Student Aid Facebook page


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