The process to finding financial aid for college can be quite simpler than many perceive it to be. It really revolves around a few simple steps and some planning.
Financial aid is a broad term but typically refers to federally funded grants, scholarships, student loans and work study which is considered government free money, except for the loans that need to be repaid.
Your financial aid award package determined by your expected family contribution will generally be a combination of all these which combined will represent your total federal financial aid package.
You will not receive any financial aid for school if you don’t fill out and file the FAFSA. This is the one application that unlocks all the government free money that makes up your financial aid package like the popular pell grant.
Here’s a good place to get started with all that!
The FAFSA saves all your application information so all you need to do for each new school year is update any changes and resubmit. Keeping good tax records will help make your yearly updates easy to reapply.
Every college or university that you apply for aid to will have a section of their website dedicated to their financial aid process.
Be sure to visit and review each school’s financial aid website for tips, ideas and more importantly for any additional forms that the school requires you to submit along with the FAFSA. Most schools only require the FAFSA, but be sure by checking with their website.
There you’ll find any additional forms and instructions on exactly how they would like you to submit these forms.
Every school will have an office available to help you find financial aid for college. The financial aid office is there for more than just processing student’s financial aid awards.
The staff at these offices can be a big help in finding you financial aid grants and scholarships. They know what’s available at their school and what you need to do to qualify and apply.
I also recommend that military members visit to see that they are receiving their in-state tuition rates financial aid for applicable public schools that qualify under HEOA.
It’s always a good idea to develop a relationship with someone in the financial aid office since you’ll be working with them for the next four years in trying to find as much government free money as possible. Be considerate of when you decide to visit the office since they can be very busy for the few weeks before and after school starts.
Usually several weeks before school starts or in the middle of the semester is a great time to go and have a good discussion with someone from that office that can help you.
Always be polite and considerate with the staff, because a good relationship with someone in their office can go a long ways in helping you find the financial aid for college that you need.
Learn how your student loan for college information is protected under the HEOA.
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