6 Steps To Securing College Aid

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For most students, the first day of college classes is still more than one month away, but one area of preparation must be started now and that step involves securing financial aid. Unless you’re one of the fortunate ones going to off to college on a full scholarship or are in a financial position to have your costs student loanscovered, you’re probably like the average student who has to come up with at least some of the monies to cover your costs for the coming academic year.

If you’re among those needing financial assistance, there are six steps to take in order to secure help. Courtesy of OfftoCollege.com they are as follows:

Get qualified – Find out what’s needed to qualify for student financial aid. Understand college costs, dependency status and expected family contribution (EFC).

Submit a FAFSA form — Students (and their parents) must submit a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form to begin the aid process. The FAFSA is used by colleges and agencies to determine eligible aid amounts.

Review the SAR — The Student Aid Report (SAR) summarizes your FAFSA information and calculates EFC. Review it carefully for changes and corrections.

Get an Award Letter — Colleges will use the SAR to determine your eligible financial aid awards. Compare your award letters among colleges to determine best aid package.

Analyze Your Aid Options — Financial aid options include grants, scholarships, work-study, loans, state aid, community service, and other federal and private aid.

Apply and Manage — Apply for scholarships, federal and private financial aid. Learn how to best budget and manage student funds to avoid getting into excessive debt.

Government student loans are more difficult to secure as the qualification levels are higher than private student loans. In addition, private student loans can be secured faster and they are less restrictive than Stafford (government) loans. However, keep in mind that the tougher economic picture means that many lenders have tightened up their lending requirements, so apply early before expected additional restrictions are put in place.

The cost of higher education is skyrocketing, but by following the six steps mentioned, you can reduce your costs and pay for college without be overly burdened by debt upon graduating college.

Resources

College Planning Guides

College Planning Tools


Adv. — Are you heading off to college next month? Make sure that you have all of your dorm needs taken care of, including everything to stock your kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, laundry, study area, etc.

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Categories: Finance, Student Loans