Heres how you can take advantage of federal and state grants, scholarships and more to get the most financial aide for college. And there’s one thing you should never forget…
How to get the most financial aid for college
Getting financial aid might seem difficult but we can help simplify that process. Here in this article we’ll be discussing the best ways to apply for financial aid.
The FAFSA application is the Federal Application for Free Student Aid and it can qualify you for up to $30,000 worth of student aid. So here are the steps you need to take to get the most student aid possible.
File your FAFSA application
You’ll need to have your tax returns, you’ll need to know what’s currently in your bank account, and you’ll need to know what schools you’re thinking about going to. You’ll have to send all of your information to those schools so that they know that you’ll need financial aid and they can help with that as soon as possible.
Apply for state aid
Many states have programs whether they are grants or scholarships or different types of federal loan options so you don;t need to turn to private lenders. You can then continue to qualify for aid from a state that you have been residing in for over 5 years. After filing the state applications some schools will require additional information and that could be through FAFSA verification or CSS profile (College Scholarship Service) which is used at about 500 schools to this date.
You will also need to submit specific income information and potential verification for their back tax returns and this usually happens about 30% – 50% of the time.
Get the financial aid offer from your school
This can be a scary moment for many students. You’ll get a congratulations for being accepted to a school along with the amount of money to be paid for school and that can be a $30,000 bill or $60,000 bill and it doesn’t feel like much of a congratulations. As you look at these numbers you’ll have to look at how much tuition you’ll need to pay out of pocket which is commonly referred to as expected family contribution.
Get scholarships and or loans
The next step is to figure out if you can get scholarships from federal aid or state or even from your school and that’s all considered “gift aid” which is money that you don’t need to pay back. But you should be careful because that aid will be for two years or four years that will be aid only for the upcoming year unless stated otherwise.
The final step you’ll see is your options for student loans if you’re still interested in that particular school. You’ll have many options for student loans but typically the best options with the best protections that are also consumer friendly are government loans.
There are subsidized loans, unsubsidized loans, and plus loans (usually loans your parents can take out on your behalf.)
Appeal your financial aid package.
Everyone should appeal their aid package because there are a few ways you can get a better package.
- You should appeal your offer if you have better offers from other schools. A school will want your business and they will compete for it because they make a lot of money off of you and it’s very worth their time. So they will give you a discount.
- If you’ve had a change in family history like your parents got divorced, or a parent lost a job or something like that you should appeal. There’s always a story to help supplement your FAFSA.
- Environmental circumstances can help change things with your financial aid appeal. Things like hurricanes and earthquakes are all contributing factors to your ability to pay for college and they are things you should negotiate with.
The bottom line is don’t give up and keep pushing and pushing to get the deal you want because these schools have tons of funds and endowments and many schools keep close to 20% of funds for people who appeal their financial aid so don’t be the sucker who doesn’t.