“VICTORY! Ruth and Carol did it again! This is the single must read source for anyone maneuvering through the financial aid maze. From myths to merit aid, the chapter content quickly alleviates that overwhelming feeling of trying to decipher FAFSA’s and EFC’s. User friendly, easy to read guidance for students, parents and college counseling staff all in one place. It’s refreshing to finally find the best “get to the point” how-to book on the college financial aid topic. Highly recommended!”

—Pat Farmer, Executive Director of Financial Aid, St. Lawrence University

“The first two chapters alone are worth the price of admission!  The Financial Aid Handbook offers students—and their families—a lot of wise and practical advice on making the cost of college to be more affordable and more acceptable. Their message is spot on!  Honestly, you cannot afford to not take their advice!”

—Phil Trout, College Counselor, Minnetonka High School

“I use The Financial Aid Handbook to train admission counselors and financial aid staff new to the profession on the basics of financial aid. My favorite chapters are ‘myths,’ ‘basics,” “parents,’ and ‘everything you need to know….[The Financial Aid Handbook] can be read over a weekend. Plus, the Handbook is helpful in coaching staff on how to communicate with families and make financial aid less daunting. A stack of edition two—and previously edition one—sits on my bookshelf to give to every new hire on my team.”

—Kim Johnson, Vice President for Enrollment Management, Vanguard University



“High school students and their families, high school counselors, financial aid professionals, admissions professionals, and other organizations interested in higher education should be encouraged to read this book. It is a quick and easy read, and provides invaluable information that offers important insight to college admissions and financial aid practices.”

—Margot O’Meara, 2012 Dallas Martin Endowment Policy Intern at NASFAA and Financial Aid-Admissions Fellow at St. Mary’s College of Maryland from 2011-2013. Published in the Journal of Student Financial Aid, Vol 42 No 3.


“I highly recommend this book, and I have given a copy of it to the college counselor at my local high school.”

“Outstanding Resource”

customer reviews on Amazon from students and parents, all of whom have rated the original FHB 5/5 stars.

“[The Financial Aid Handbook] help[s] students and families tackle this expensive and intimidating process in a new, practical, refreshing way…. Be sure to add this book to your holiday wish list.” —Brett Hunsberger, The Oregonian


The Kansas City Star: Read the article
NPR’s Bright Ideas: Watch the webcast
The Oregonian: Read the article
MPR’s On Campus Blog: Read the article
The Minneapolis Star Tribune: Read the article
NPR’s American Public Media: Listen to the podcast
The Chicago Tribune: PDF
MSN Money: Read the article
Fox Business: Read the article
(and many more….)


The Financial Aid Handbook is a guide to the financial aid process for college-bound high school students, and there’s no other book on the market that gives you the same invaluable information and advice. We wrote it to help students and families navigate the most expensive purchase they’ll ever make (excepting, of course, a house): their college education.

PLUS loans? EFC? FAFSA? CSS PROFILE? If these acronyms are Greek to you now, they’ll be standard slang once you’re finished reading The Financial Aid Handbook.


Anyone—and everyone—who wants to finance a college education! We’ve got sections for everyone, including international students (see Chapter 13, “What Color is Your Passport?”) and anyone from an intact, blended, divorced, or even a little bit messy (see “Deadbeat Dads and Moms” in Chapter 4) family situation.

We’ll guide you through the entire financial aid process, and teach you how to negotiate your aid awards (both need and merit-based). We’ll also teach you how to find the biggest possible aid award, and we’ve got guides and resources for every single step of the process—from the very first conversation (“So….I kind of want to go to college…?”) to the real meat-and-potatoes of college funding (“So, Mom and Dad….I kind of need….a lot of your money?”).

If you’re willing to follow our advice in Chapter 11, you could even cut your total college tuition in half. What’s in Chapter 11? Well, buy the book and find out.


That’s simple. To keep your student loans as low as possible. Your college degree is not a medical degree—don’t mortgage your future on it. If you take out too many loans, you’ll be moving right back in with Mom & Dad after graduation, living in their basement. Try inviting someone you really like over to have a nightcap … at your parent’s house … when you are 25. What do you think they are going to say? “Oh, I love baseball-themed sheets on a twin bed!” ? No. They’re not even going to make it to your twin bed, or your futon, or your pull-out sofa in the basement den. You’ll fall asleep watching Netflix all alone, every night, until you can finally afford to move out when you’re 40.

That’s super depressing. Don’t let that be you. And parents: Take it from us. Being an empty-nester is amazing. Don’t force your kids back into the nest—get them a copy of The Financial Aid Handbook today.


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