Financial aid tips: Sticker price still does matter

Student aid
Student aid

It's that time of year again, if you have kids in college or getting ready for college: It's time to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form, the tedious, repetitive, boring and mildly intrusive paperwork required to qualify for financial aid.

Everyone should fill out the FAFSA form: It's free, and you have nothing to lose and tons to gain by filling it out and turning it in. But The Los Angeles Times reports that "students often limit their college search to institutions that they think they can afford -- typically junior colleges and state colleges and universities, rather than high-priced private schools. The folly is that high-priced private schools often provide so much aid that they become more affordable than less prestigious colleges. . ."