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Financial Aid

 

10 Tips to Know for Financial Aid

The recession is officially over but the slow recovery is still impacting just about every aspect of life. For prospective students who plan on attending college or career school, now is the time to take advantage of every available funding resource, including federal and financial aid. 

 

Here are ten financial tips to follow:

 

  1. Apply, even if you don’t think you’ll qualify

     

    With the economy and financial situation being unstable, your eligibility could change from year to year with any change in income. That being said, you should always fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every year, even if you don’t think you’ll qualify. There may be a small chance that something changes that deems you eligible.

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  3. Always meet application deadlines

     

    Be aware of every deadline for all your financial aid applications and make sure you don’t miss them. Keep in mind that applying for financial aid is a yearly thing–not just a one–time event. Another thing to keep in mind that is deadlines may differ from college to college so it may be a good idea to check in with the financial aid department at your school to make sure you are aware of any upcoming deadlines.

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  5. Requirements on financial aid applications can vary from school to school

     

    While all schools require a FAFSA form, some colleges may require an additional form: the CSS/Financial Aid Profile. Grant and scholarship requirements may also include additional paperwork so it’s good to check with your financial aid office to make sure you have all the right paperwork submitted.

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  7. Know what Expected Family Contribution is

     

    Family contribution is the amount that a family can contribute towards a student’s school costs, which is determined by the particular college. The family contribution is based on the information provided by the student in the FAFSA and sometimes the CSS/Financial Aid Profile forms. The amount could differ depending on the college and the dollar amount of the family contribution is not necessarily what a family may pay.

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  9. Know what the overall cost is to attend college

     

    Don’t just consider the tuition cost for college; take into account these other factors: cost for books, supplies, transportation, housing, fees, etc. The amount a student receives for these additional costs can vary depending on the school.

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  11. Know the difference between a student’s need versus a student’s eligibility

     

    If a student qualifies for all the requirements for a Pell Grant, their college must award them with the funds. However, just because a student is eligible for a Pell Grant doesn’t automatically make them eligible for other types of aid.

     

  12. Know the difference between merit-based and need–based financial aid

     

    Merit-based aid is given based on a student’s academic performance. Need–based aid is awarded to student based specifically on their family’s documented financial situation.

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  14. There are many types of financial aid

     

    Financial aid is a broad term that can be applied to many different types. A student can receive federal aid, state aid, and/or institutional aid. Students can also receive aids through loans, work, grants, and scholarships. Keep in mind that colleges see loans as a type of aid.

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  16. Don’t forget to read the fine print

     

    Award letters may vary so make sure you fully understand whether your aid is a grant or a loan. Read carefully to see if your aid is renewable every year so that you can make sure you meet any deadlines or find different means of aid.

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  18. Didn’t get financial aid? Appeal!

     

    Don’t get discouraged if you don’t receive financial aid. If your family’s financial situation changes for any reason, contact the financial aid office at your school to discuss alternative aid options. Many colleges will often do their best to help out families as unexpected circumstances come up. During this economy recovery, it’s not uncommon to see many families having the same circumstances change on them unexpectedly.

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    Don’t let money keep you from getting the education that you want and deserve. Be diligent in your hunt for financial aid just as you are diligent in your school work. Don’t miss out on any opportunities to get the help that you may need. This is your future so don’t let anything stand in your way.

    

 
     
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