OH MY GOSH IT IS HOT.  That really needed to be said, and hopefully you've either been splashing in the water or enjoying the A/C in your house this week.  Spending time in an air conditioned house is great for cooling off, but there's only so much to do when you're cooped up all day.  This writer solves that problem by feeding an ever-worsening internet addiction.  Chances are if you're here, you think the same way.  So while everyone's trying to beat the heat, it makes sense to be proactive with this free time and learn about a few things you've been meaning to get to--like aid for college.

"Do I have to get financial aid?"  Well of course you don't have to, but why wouldn't you?  Did you know that some students don't even apply because of the lengthy application?  While it's a no-brainer that filling out applications is less than entertaining, the FAFSA is only going to help later.  FAFSA tabulates your financial need, estimates an approximate award amount, and sends the results neatly broken down for personal review.  And just think about it: aid for college includes grants, which translates to "free money."   Not filing means missing out on lots of funding opportunities.

Hopefully you've decided to pursue financial aid, so read on.  Let's face it, college is EXPENSIVE.  But this is the education that will teach you how to make a livelihood somewhere down the road, so it is well worth it.  Everybody's financial circumstances are different, however, so luckily this is accounted for in the financial aid process.There will be plenty of opportunities to talk about grants another time.  For now, let's review two basics: need-based aid and non-need based aid. 

Need-based financial aid is the money that students receive because their financial situation dictates that it would be of great help. Much of this aid comes in the form of loans, which have low interest rates because the government provides them. These loans are subsidized too, so the government bears the burden of your loan interest during school or 6 months after. 

Non-need based aid includes the loans the will help a student or family pay for education, but without regard for the overall financial situation presented (i.e. Stafford Loan).  Many individuals require aid for college, but they don't meet the standards required for other need-based loans, having too many assets.  Higher interest rates go hand-in-hand with these loans, and the government will not cover this.  What this means to the borrower is a larger sum at the end, with all interest added to the principle amount.  A good idea, if it is feasible, is to make payments just on the interest through college (this way your debt doesn't pile up).

Do your homework on aid for college.  Find out which loans seem like the best fit for your situation and accept the aid awards that you believe will help.  Your FAFSA will indicate eligibility, but consider accepting the most aid that you can WHILE thinking about which aid will serve you best.  There are a number of resources to consult in your quest for financial aid, and Go Financial Aid is eager to provide helpful solutions to students and families.

Categories: Financial Aid | Grants | Scholarships | Student Loans
Tags: financial aid need-based financial aid non-need based financial aid

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