Applying for financial aid can be stressful. Many people worry about application deadlines, how to fill out the paperwork or if they will even qualify. For a stress-free experience, try these five do’s and don’ts when applying for financial aid.
Do file for financial aid every year.
Students should file for FASFA and other forms of financial aid at the beginning of every year they attend college. Even if you did not qualify the previous year, subtle changes in your circumstance can impact your eligibility, so you should continue to request financial aid.
Some determining factors that might increase a candidate’s likelihood for financial aid include how many family members are currently enrolled in college, student income, student assets or capital gains. Keep in mind, the second and third time you apply for financial aid will be much easier since you can pre-populate information on the application.
Some colleges have early deadlines for consideration for scholarships, grants and other financial aid forms. Some programs have limited funding, so it is best to apply as soon as possible.
Oftentimes, people think you have to wait to apply for financial aid until after you file your taxes. However, FASFA allows students to estimate information based on taxes filed the previous year. Stop procrastinating, and complete your FASFA online today!
Do take advantage of all financial aid programs.
FASFA is not the only form of financial aid. There are other forms of economic assistance for students such as scholarships, grants, work-study programs and loans. There is a variety of help coming from federal, state, school and private financial aid providers. All it takes is a little time spent researching and talking with people who have gone before you.
Don’t get discouraged.
Many people have a common misconception that factors such as income, age, ethnicity and grades can disqualify them from earning financial aid. However, there is no discrimination based on income, age, ethnicity, etc. While you may need to maintain grades to keep your scholarship, there are several factors that impact financial aid. This system assures everyone who applies is treated fairly and equally.
Do provide reasons why you need aid.
Answer all of the questions carefully, completing every field according to the instructions. The more information you provide about family financial circumstances, the more accurately FASFA and other services or organizations can determine what aid to provide.
Financial aid can play a big role in whether or not you can go back to school. If this is you, don’t wait! Contact the financial aid office today for assistance and advice.