If you’re contemplating pulling your hair out from the whole college funding/financial aid process, don’t! There are many options for financial aid assistance that will help you get the money you need to go to the college of your choice, as well as taking a lot of stress off your shoulders from all the paperwork. It’s not an easy process to navigate, and you don’t have to do it on your own.
Some helpful hints…
- Apply early for scholarships and grants! There is only a limited amount of funding available, so the sooner you get your applications in, the better chance you have of receiving aid. Remember, you do not have to pay this money back, so take advantage of it! Apply for as many as possible. There are a lot of scholarship options out there, you just have to look.
- Know all of the information that will be asked of you on the FAFSA form ahead of time, so you won’t get stuck trying to locate everything while you’re filling it out (Social Security number, driver’s license, FAFSA pin, etc.)
- Remember to fill in all the blanks on the FAFSA form. Leaving spaces blank could result in you losing significant funds that you could have saved.
- Try to finish your taxes early. This will allow to have all your assets together, and to know where you stand financially before filling out the form.
- Check out your EFC (Expected Family Contribution) before filling out the FAFSA. Knowing this number ahead of time will give you a basis for the amount of money you’ll be expected to pay. Using an online financial aid calculator is a quick and easy way to do this.
- Do not forget to renew your FAFSA every year to make sure all your grants and loans continue to be in effect.
Most importantly, ask for help. If you’re struggling with getting your finances together or you just want some guidance, consider hiring a financial aid consultant. He or she will help you search for the best financial aid options for you, as well as saving you a considerable amount of time and anxiety by completing a lot of the paperwork for you.