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Will you show me the money?

The college booths, with their blue and white banners, were of course the main attraction at a college fair in Springfield, Mass., earlier this month. The other hot spot for students was the in-house fast-food restaurant.

But while teens popped glossy brochures into their bags and ambled over to gobble burgers, the hot spot for parents was a section roped off for "Financial Aid Questions." There, they learned, among other things, some key issues to raise with any college about financial aid. Here are some questions the National Association for College Admission Counseling recommends:

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*What application materials are needed to apply for financial aid, and does the college require its own form in addition to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?

*What are the deadlines for submitting financial aid forms?

*When will I be notified of my financial eligibility?

*Will my request for financial aid have any impact on my ability to be admitted?

*How do you describe your financial aid program, including requirements for need-based aid, merit-based aid, and scholarships?

*Once my financial aid package is awarded, will additional scholarships reduce the amount of financial aid I can receive?

*Will your institution meet my full financial need for all four years of my attendance?

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*Are there state financial aid programs that I should know about?

*Does this college participate in a tuition payment plan that allows installment payments for each semester's bill?

*Where can I find additional sources of financial aid?

*For more information, there is a National Association of Student Financial Aid Web site at www.nasfa.org

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society