While the application essays loom over their heads, the cost of it all looms over yours.What can you afford, and what’s the best fit for your son or daughter?

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The open application period runs from late January to late February.

In many cases, private colleges, while asking a higher tuition, often have larger endowments and scholarships that make the college affordable for students who meet academic standards or financial criteria.

According to Mike Rotundo, director of financial aid, “Grades really do matter, even at the freshmen level.” NMU also offers foundation scholarships funded by private donors.

They have varying requirements based on both need and merit and are listed in full on the school’s website.

At some schools, the application for admission automatically places a student into contention for major scholarship support.

Lakehead University in Thunder Bay is ranked in Canada’s top two universities for the number of scholarships and bursaries offered each year.

LSSU is particularly proud of the Philip Hart Scholarship.

“When he passed away in 1976, he wanted to leave a well-endowed fund to the smallest university in Michigan,” says John Shibley of the LSSU public relations office.

It has no application deadlines and makes decisions as students apply.

For Fall 2012, Northland College is introducing a rolling aid process for institutional funds offered based on academic and achievement criteria.

These requirements, plus more scholarships available by application, are posted on the school’s website. government use the information to determine a student’s eligibility for federal programs, such as Pell Grants, but some states like Michigan, as well as public and private colleges, use it to determine if there are institutional dollars for which the student qualifies.