If you're looking for money for college…

If you’re looking for money for college…

I’ve been writing about paying for school for 20 years, and this is the guy who knows more big-picture info about college costs than anyone else: Mark Kantrowitz.

I call him when I need to know the right answer—and he is incredibly smart, practical, and plugged in. And that’s not just my opinion. In a great profile of him last year, The Wall Street Journal said: “Nearly every college student who has borrowed money to pay tuition over the past decade can thank Mark Kantrowitz for helping to make the process easier and cheaper.” Doesn’t get better than that!

He’s talked me through everything from the latest on the new “net price” calculators required to be on all college websites this fall, to the perils of high-priced private student loans, to the benefits of income based repayment (IBR). He makes esoteric topics accessible—perhaps the most important role he can play for all those families desperate for financial aid.

If you’re thinking of sending a kid to college one day or planning to attend yourself, you need to look at FinAid.org, Kantrowitz’s website, which covers all things financial aid, and FastWeb.org, which is also his baby and focuses on scholarships.

The great news: Kantrowitz recently published a book called “Secrets to Winning a Scholarship,” a 100-page guide to everything you need to know about snagging a scholarship to help pay for college. In it he gives insider advice about creating an “accomplishments resume,” digging up unusual scholarships (like those for vegetarians or left-handed students), and acing interviews conducted via webcam.

If you do pick it up, don’t be thrown off by the fact that “Secrets to Winning a Scholarship” doesn’t look glamorous. After all, neither is paying for college.

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