Dos and Don’ts of Securing Financial Aid for School

Monday, January 18, 2021, 6:00 PM | Leave Comment

News flash! The cost of a college education isn’t cheap.

According to U.S. World & News Report, the average annual tuition and fees at a private college are $35,087. This number drops to $21,184 for out-of-state students at a public college. And for in-state public college tuition, expect to pay an average of $9,687 per year.

When you add up this cost throughout a four-year program, it’s easy to see how expensive it is to obtain a college degree. And that doesn’t even take into consideration miscellaneous expenses, such as entertainment and traveling to and from campus. Or books, possibly the second-highest expense of college behind housing.

On the plus side, there are a variety of ways to pay for college. Financial aid is one of the first options you’ll consider, and there’s a very good reason for that: you don’t always have to repay the money.

Applying for financial aid can be a challenging and confusing process, so the more information you gather upfront the better off you’ll be.

Do These 3 Things

Dos and Don'ts of Securing Financial Aid for School

  1. Complete the FAFSA

    The U.S. Department of Education provides loans, grants, and work-study funds to millions of college students every year.

    However, before you can take advantage of any available funds, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It’s free to complete, and since you can do so online it’s more efficient than ever before.

  2. Seek State Aid

    Through the completion of the FAFSA, you put yourself in a position to receive federal funds. But you don’t want to stop there. You should also consider if your state offers any money to students in your position.

    Each state has its own process for providing financial assistance to college students.

    For instance, in California, the California Student Aid Commission manages the process. There are many types of funds available, such as the Cal Grant (only available to students from California) that doesn’t require repayment.

  3. Ask Questions

    Don’t assume you know everything. There’s nothing wrong with asking questions, and this starts with the colleges you’re applying to.

    Start by reaching out to the financial aid departments with any questions or concerns that you have. You may even want to consult with your school’s dead of students if you have more specific questions about financial aid and related subject matter. The dean of students is there to help guide you in both your academic and potential career paths, and that includes making sound financial decisions.

    It never hurts to ask questions. This is the best way to quickly uncover what you’re looking for.

Don’t Do These 2 Things

  1. Rely on the Financial Aid Office

    Yes, you should consult with the financial aid office of the colleges you apply to. But you don’t want them to manage the entire process. Putting all your trust in them is a bad idea, as they don’t always have your best interest in mind. And putting all your eggs in one basket is never a great idea.

  2. Assume You Don’t Qualify

    Maybe you come from a wealthy family, so you assume you don’t qualify for state or federal aid. And for that reason, you don’t complete the FAFSA.

    Or maybe you have a DUI conviction on your record, and you have been told that it disqualifies you from all types of aid. In some states, it could have certain adverse effects. In others, none at all.

    Don’t assume anything when it comes to financial aid. You never know when you’ll uncover funds.

Securing Financial Aid for College

For many people, securing financial aid is critical to obtaining a college education. Without this, they simply don’t have the financial means to make it through four (or more) years of school.

With need-based grants reaching well into the tens of thousands of dollars, there’s money to be had regardless of the school you want to attend. But remember, it’s up to you to chase after every available dollar. Don’t leave a single cent on the table!

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