10 Tips for Getting Financial Aid
College is expensive. There is no question about it and most people can't just cough up the dough for tuition. More and more students are relying on financial aid to pay for tuition, especially in this economy. If you are a student that needs financial aid, this article is for you. Pay attention to these ten tips to get the aid that you need.
1. Do Your Research
Financial aid is confusing. There are so many types of aid out there. My first word of advice is to devote a few hours to financial aid research. Read up about the different types of aid available and search for some scholarships that you may be applicable for. Familiarize yourself with the financial aid world so that you'll better understand how to get that aid. I once read that you can make a full time job out of searching and applying for scholarships because of all the information that is out there. All I'm asking is a few hours just to get educated about the types of aid that are out there.
2. EFC. What is it and what does it do for you?
EFC stands for Expected Family Contribution. Your EFC score determines your level of need. You will be awarded need based aid such as grants, subsidized student loans, and work study if your EFC is lower than the estimated cost of attendance. If you fill out a free financial aid application at the FAFSA website, they will tell you whether or not you are eligible for need based aid. Knowing your EFC will help you determine what aid you can expect and apply for.
3. How do I find my EFC?
There are many EFC calculators out there online just do a search. Finding your EFC is very important and will help you in determining what aid you are eligible for.
4. You can't win them all
Money is awarded on a need basis. You should have a plan B in place in case you aren't awarded any aid. Don't let this discourage you however; money is out there for undergraduate students. Just don't expect full financial aid, keep your options open. Most of the time students will receive aid for most of the price of tuition not all. So you may want to have several methods of aid in place or some money saved. Bottom line: Do not expect to get your tuition paid in full, and keep your options open.
5. Make friends with your college financial aid advisor
While your EFC is a good way to judge what type of aid you will get it is not necessarily set in stone. Your financial aid advisor can change your EFC to your favor based on your needs. It is in your best interest to sit down with your advisor and have a meeting. Your advisor can give you tips to getting more aid and help you along the way. They can explain the best way to apply for aid and scholarships while helping you with aid that the school has available as well.
6. Try! Try! And Then Try Again!
Don't count yourself out. It is a common misconception that there is an income cutoff for financial aid. Sometimes people think they will not qualify for aid because they make too much or their parents make too much but this is not the case. Your EFC is determined by several different factors. The best thing to do is try to apply for aid and see if you qualify, don't just assume that you won't qualify.
7. Just expect it to be complicated
There's just no getting around it you will have to fill out at least one complicated financial aid application. The FAFSA application takes a while and can be a little complicated but it's worth it. FAFSA will provide you with useful information to help you along your financial aid path. They will also show you what aid you qualify for and how much. It's worth it!
8. Don't get paranoid
People get nervous about sending important information over the internet for their aid application. The aid sites are absolutely safe and secure and your information will be safe. Don't let this fear keep you from getting the aid that you deserve. Send your application in!
9. If you do get aid, don't expect to get all that you need
If you do receive aid from your college most financial of it comes in packages of grants and unsubsidized loans. Very rarely does the amount of aid you receive meet your EFC. Often times the aid you receive will cover most of the expenses but some of it you will have to come up with yourself. Be prepared to have to pay for some of your tuition even if you get aid.
10. Follow the deadlines!
When it comes to aid colleges operate on a type of first come first serve basis. Aid is only awarded to those who need it yes, but money can run out colleges only have so much in their budget for aid. Make sure you turn your application in on time or early if possible to get the best chance of getting aid. Even if you are eligible for aid, but you turn in your application late when the money is gone you won't get any help.
Georgia Potter writes articles to help students like herself survive college. She writes about accredited online education degrees [http://earnmycollegedegree.com/] and accredited online degrees [http://earnmycollegedegree.com/]
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