When students and parents start the college search process, they are confronted with an enormous amount of confusing and often conflicting information about college costs and financial aid. We know how frustrating and exhausting it can be to find resources that are helpful, understandable and trustworthy. It’s an exhausting process for us – and we are experts in the field!
After spending hundreds of hours combing the internet, reading college financial aid web sites, blogs & articles; watching videos; and reviewing many tools and related services, we identified a number of specific problems and set out to fix them.
Problem #1 – Everything seems to be written in financial aid jargon.
“Financialaidspeak” is a jumble of acronyms and jargon. While college financial aid officers speak it fluently, it is often incomprehensible to parents and students.
Here in Access Applied, we have translated the jargon into language you can understand. We then present it to you in a way that is helpful.
Problem #2 – Much of the information out of date.
Policies, procedures, requirements and deadlines change all the time. There are hundreds of players in the college costs and financial aid field, including the federal government, state governments, thousands of colleges and universities, scholarship organizations and more. There is a huge amount of information to track and keep up to date. We have found that many college cost and financial aid websites are not regularly updated – some are not updated at all. This results in outdated and inaccurate information being present of the web.
Staying on top of all the relevant information is our full-time job here at Access Applied. Everything on our website is current and accurate; the deadlines are updated and the links are all working.
Problem #3 – A surprising amount information is misleading or inaccurate.
The subject matter is complex and ever changing. There are thousands of people writing about college costs and financial aid, many of whom have only a basic understanding of the issues.
Our experts have decades of relevant experience, understand all the complexities and nuances allowing us to provide advice that is both timely and accurate.
Problem #4 – Many sites are “mousetraps” that provide some financial aid content but also collect a personal data on students and parents. Often this data is sold to third parties. Even sites that promise not to sell your data often use it to market other products and services and/or to sell advertising.
At Access Applied, we collect only enough information to facilitate your initial registration and to provide basic customer service. Because we do not collect ANY other personal or financial information, our users are in control of the security and privacy of their information.
This is one reason we provide worksheets that download directly to the users desktop instead of offering database tools that capture and store data. Whenever you download and complete a worksheet, all information remains on your personal computer. It never resides on the Access Applied site.
The only service we sell is the license to use our website. You will never see any advertising. We do link to some other websites – or to specific pages within websites – which we find helpful. But we have absolutely NO business or financial relationship with any of these websites. We have simply determined that these links are helpful and link to them for user convenience.
Your feedback is important to us. If you find anything on our site that you feel is inaccurate, out of date or hard to understand, please let us know immediately.
There is something for everyone on Access Applied:
We recognize that there is an enormous amount of content on this site. Figuring out how to find affordable colleges; how to navigate the application process; and ultimately how to pay the college is a big undertaking.
But, as the saying goes: “there is only one way to eat an elephant – One bite at a time.”
We have created some checklists to help you get started.