ECMC expands free college planning resources for students

October 12, 2015—ECMC is pleased to offer free resources for individuals planning to attend college. These materials and tools are applicable to all students, whether considering a trade school, community college or four-year university. New this year, ECMC is offering Pell Abacus (described below) in addition to its other resources.

"Planning for college can be challenging, and ECMC is working to help simplify the process with a user-friendly guide, workshops and online tools," said Paula Craw, director of outreach and financial literacy. "In keeping with our nonprofit mission of helping students succeed, we are pleased to provide all of these resources at no charge, and encourage students, their families, school counselors, teachers, administrators, community organizations and others to take full advantage of them."

Available Resources:

2015-2016 Opportunities: Preparing for college guide and workbook. This free college planning publication provides students and families with information and tools to guide their pursuit of postsecondary education. Opportunities books (available in English and Spanish) can be ordered by guidance counselors, community organizations and colleges. Order copies of the Virginia, Oregon and Connecticut versions or download the national version of the Opportunities book at

College Nights. During the weeks of October 15—November 15, ECMC sponsors College Nights events at more than 100 locations throughout Virginia, Oregon, Connecticut and California. This fall’s events have been expanded to include additional locations, focusing on high schools that serve a student population where 50 percent or more are eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program. College Nights events are free for students and their families aimed at simplifying the college planning process. Scholarship drawings will be held at each of these events. More information is available at

College Abacus. College Abacus is a free online tool that allows students and families to calculate and compare their individualized net costs across more than 5,000 colleges and universities in the U.S. College Abacus can be found at

Pell Abacus. College Abacus recently added Pell Abacus, a new online offering designed to meet the unique challenges facing Pell-eligible students when researching and applying for college. Pell Abacus simplifies the college search process by asking just one financial question: “Do you qualify for free or reduced lunch?” Pell Abacus can be found at

Social media. ECMC provides money management tips and resources on Facebook and via Twitter to help students plan for college and life beyond college. 

Like us on Facebook:
Follow us on Twitter:

All news