Applying for college financial aid can be confusing—there are so many companies out there promising to find you grants and other assistance that you don’t know where to turn or who to believe. But the truth is, college financial aid is a relatively straightforward process, and it’s usually the same no matter what school you plan to attend. Financial aid for college advice should reflect that reality and help you access the assistance you qualify for.
The following is some good financial aid for college advice.
- Keep in contact with your school’s financial aid officer. This first piece of financial aid for college advice is pretty easy to follow. These folks know where to look for money and they want to give it to you. Keep this relationship going even when you haven’t quite decided what school to attend; your financial aid package could be one of the deciding factors.
- Don’t pay for scholarship services. This second piece of financial aid for college advice is one that a lot of people overlook. There are good, free scholarship services and databases offered to students at any level of study. The paid services have the exact same information—so why pay for it?
- Fill out forms early. This is a very important piece of financial aid for college advice. You should try to fill out your following year’s FAFSA by February or March preceding the year you want to go to school. But if you haven’t filled it out by then, fill it out as soon as possible, whenever that time occurs.
- Save as much as you can. Savings won’t be held against you; schools like to see parents who have done all they can, and you will still qualify for federal financial aid and scholarships. But college is expensive and most students can’t work full time, so savings are always a good thing.
- Apply even if you have nothing saved. In these rough economic times, some families have simply not been able to save anything. They may qualify for need-based scholarships and grants.
- Research your tax options. Some education savings are tax-deductible, and some aren’t. Know which is which, so you can get the most from your savings.
College is affordable and attainable, so make sure to check in with your school for the best financial aid for college advice.