Potential College Students: 6 Financial Aid Tips

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

College-prone students: Here is useful information regarding financial aid for college. This is a tough process and students and their families should take all the help they can.

Higher education is no joke. It’s vital to pursue a higher education degree after high school, and we’re sure you are already aware of the reasons why. The job market is a competitive world, and if we want to have what is demanded of us, a high school education isn't enough. 

Starting with a Bachelor’s degree, and maybe following up with a Master’s or Doctorate degree, is the best way to prepare for the workforce and stand out from the crowd when competing for your dream job.

We can all agree that pursuing a bachelor’s degree is essential. However, these programs can be pretty pricey. For this reason, many students seek financial aid in order to attend college or university and prepare for the future. 

As well as going through the process of choosing a degree, a university, and a studying methodology —on-campus or online—, students and families alike need to learn about financial aid, since many students and their families have some doubts about financial aid and whether they are eligible for it. 

Figuring out how to pay for college can be a daunting process. Here we share with you some useful tips that will help both parents and students understand how financial aid works as well as learn everything they need to know to apply for financial aid.

Financial Aid Types

Financial aid programs can be of two categories: Merit-based and need-based. 

The former is distributed by colleges and universities based on academic achievements and talent rather than a family’s income. ACT, SAT scores and high school credentials are some of the merits universities and colleges alike take into account during the admissions process to determine eligibility. 

The latter is awarded by the federal or state government or colleges through scholarships, grants, and loans. In order to apply for need-based aid, students need to apply for FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), which will determine whether the student is eligible for financial aid. 

Financial Aid: 6 Tips for Soon-to-be College Students

1. Don’t miss deadlines

Making sure you don’t miss deadlines is vital if you want to make the most of your financial aid process. Missing deadlines can result in money being left on the table and you don’t want that.

Deadlines may differ from college to college, which is why you should look for each deadline into the colleges’ websites.

2. Apply as early as possible

Some financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so you can see that applying as early as possible might give you an upper hand. 

3. Don’t make conjectures about financial aid eligibility

Don’t decide not to apply only because someone you think is in a similar position as you didn’t qualify. 

This decision is extremely personal and, as such, you should focus on and only on your situation. Making assumptions and decisions based on others’ financial circumstances won’t be helpful, since we never know everything that goes on in another household.

In addition, you won’t lose anything by applying for financial aid.

4. Don’t focus on the sticker price

It’s not uncommon for parents and students to disregard some colleges because they are too expensive, but in most cases, the price on the sticker isn’t what they are going to pay. 

You should focus on the net price. This will tell you the sticker price minus the grants and scholarships. This way, you might be able to attend the college you have been dreaming about but thought was too out of your budget. In order to determine the net cost, most colleges’ websites have a net price calculator.

5. Do away with all doubts

Seeking professional help is highly recommended, since understanding financial aid isn’t a piece of cake.

You can contact college financial aid offices if you have any questions. They will provide you with the answers regarding any kind of financial aid doubt, whether it is specific requirements, deadlines, among others. 

6. You can always appeal if the first offer isn’t appealing

Parents and students need to be aware of the fact that the first offer might not be the final offer. Students may be able to appeal if the school’s first offer isn’t enough.

For example, students with merit scholarships can try to negotiate higher offers. Another case in which you may be able to appeal is if your financial circumstances are worse than in previous years, as the FAFSA requires tax info from the “prior prior” year, and this might not reflect your current financial situation. 

We really hope these tips come in handy when applying for financial aid. If you need more information regarding higher education, click here to find more of our insightful articles.

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