COLLEGE FINANCIAL AID: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW As the expense of higher education rises, receiving financial aid for college becomes increasingly more crucial. There are other more methods to earn money for college, while most students are aware of the FAFSA and how crucial it is to complete it early each year.
Although colleges are working hard to explain financial aid to students, there are still concerns about how to pay for the expenses associated with a college education, such as tuition, fees, housing, food, and other essentials.
Although they should all handle federal aid the same manner, it’s vital to note that every school manages financial aid for college in a little bit of a different method. I would advise anyone looking for particular information on how to pay for their higher education to speak with a financial aid officer at the institution they are thinking about enrolling in.
Here are some things you should be aware of if you’re seeking for just some fundamental information about financial aid for college:
THE FAFSA SELECTS HOW MUCH FEDERAL AID YOU WILL RECEIVE Even though everyone despises filling out the FAFSA, it is undoubtedly time well spent.
(If you’ve never done it, just go through it once, and you’ll know what I mean.)
Some students believe that filling out the FAFSA is the only method to apply for college financial aid. That is untrue!
It is true that the FAFSA must be completed in order to be eligible for federal financial aid. This covers financial aid programs including the Perkins Loan, Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans, Work Study, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and Pell Grant.
For the 2015–2016 academic year, students who qualify can receive up to $5,730 through the Pell Grant and up to $4,000 through the Supplemental Educational Grant. Those figures alone ought to be motivational enough to complete the FAFSA. We’re talking about a possible $9,730 loan that you would never have to repay!
I could go on for a long time discussing federal funding, but the FAFSA website does an excellent job of doing this, so I’ll save you the space and encourage you to visit the site. Following are some crucial details to keep in mind if you only need some fast information:
Scholarships and grants are not subject to repayment. If you work a work-study job, the money doesn’t go toward your tuition; it instead goes to you. Loans must be paid back, and interest rates change (Read 7 Tips for Paying Off Student Loans for more info) If you are eligible for subsidized loans, the US Department of Education will cover your interest (in-school at least half-time, in deferment, or in the grace period) Aid from the state budget for college supplies LA FAFSA Many students fail to include their state programs when determining how they will pay for their whole college degree.
You can still be eligible for scholarships and grants even if you don’t qualify for federal aid. You should probably search under the section on merit-based programs for any awards that you might qualify for. Remember that the majority of these awards will have a separate application process, so you should review the requirements and eligibility before applying.
If you were eligible for federal aid, you most likely will also be eligible for some state need-based scholarships and grants. Depending on the prize, you might have to provide more information to be eligible.
The U.S. Department of Education website is the finest resource for information on state financial aid for college (the link will take you directly to the state list).
AWARDS VARY BASED ON SCHOOL Each school you apply to will offer you a different amount of money. Why? While some colleges have a general scholarship fund that they distribute according to GPAs, financial need, and other criteria, others have scholarships for particular majors or programs.
You can usually find a list of these institution-specific prizes on the financial aid website of the colleges you’ve applied to, so be sure to check with each one to learn more. I suggest phoning the financial assistance office to speak with someone who can tell you what aid is available if you can’t find anything mentioned on the website. Make careful to inquire if you need any additional information because you might need to submit a different application.
There are several scholarship search websites; nevertheless, you should be aware of the competition. FastWeb-type websites have been well-liked for many years. These websites are fantastic for finding scholarships that fit just about any skill or quality you can think of. Due to the size of the database, students can sort through the scholarships to determine which ones they are eligible for and how to apply for each one.
But there is fierce rivalry when there are many listings.
Although these websites are fantastic for browsing, college students should remember that thousands of other students are daily browsing the same results. With thousands of applicants for one award, it might be challenging to find financial help for college on these websites.
No, I’m not trying to talk you out of applying. Hey, getting free money is usually a nice idea, but I’m cautioning you to make sure you only apply for opportunities for which you are eligible. If an essay is necessary, make sure you will have enough time to write a strong one before submitting it; otherwise, your efforts might not be justified.
Watch out for frauds, as with anything promoting free money! To apply for general scholarships, you shouldn’t be required to disclose your social security number or any other sensitive information (but yes, you need it for the FAFSA).
THE LESSON OF THE STORY: COLLEGE FINANCIAL AID IS ABUNDANT All students should apply for financial help for college, regardless of whether they are eligible for need-based aid or not. Don’t you think it would be good to surprise your parents with even a $500 scholarship even if they are planning on assisting you with some of the costs?
I understand that applying for financial aid can be demoralizing, so be sure to use all of the online tools as well as those provided by your college.