Happy New Year! Its time to start filling out the 2010-2011 FAFSA form. When it comes to paying for college, every penny counts. Here are some tips to maximize your financial aid options:
- Jumpstart the Financial Aid Process. If possible, apply in January as close to the 1st as possible.
- First Come-First Serve Basis. Once grant money is gone, it's gone. This falls right in line with applying close to the January 1st start date for the 2010-2011 FAFSA. If you are qualified, you cannot receive money that is no longer available. Don't wait until you file your tax return to apply.
- Be Accurate. If you application is not completely filled out, it will be returned to you. This will cause delays and could possibly be the deciding factor in the types and amounts of financial aid you receive. A few weeks makes a big difference in the financial aid process.
- College Savings. While saving for college makes sense, be aware that savings may limit your financial aid reward. However, this about of money is not enough to make you not want to save for school! Your savings can go to your Expected Family Contribution.
- Spending. A student is expected to contribute up to 20% of their money towards the cost of college. If you are considering making a large purchase (perhaps a new computer for college), use your money opposed to a parent's money or a credit card.
- Don't Settle. If you are unhappy with your financial aid package, you do have the option of appealing it.
- Keeping Looking. Keep searching for scholarships, grants, and work study. You will be surprised at what you can come up with.
- Don't Assume. Don't assume you are not eligible for financial aid, if you don't apply you will never know.