College Financial Aid
Do you need college financial aid? If you are thinking of heading off to college or returning to college and finances aren’t the best, then you may be eligible for financial assistance. Times are tough and getting that extra help can mean the world to many who want to better themselves for a number of reasons.
It doesn’t matter if you are getting ready to graduate from high school, you have been out of the workforce for awhile and need to be retrained or perhaps you just want to further your current level of education, going to college is the best thing for you to do. The job market today is extremely tough so you have got to pull out all of the stops in order to attract the employer’s attention. You want to go but can’t afford it; think again because the college financial aid that is available today can help you get through those campus doors.
If you are one of those who think that getting financial help isn’t for you, you should reconsider. No one has to know and besides, it will help more than you might think. The assistance will not only help with paying for school but it could help pay for your books (and we know how expensive those can be) to help pay your rent. There are different levels and types of financial aid that you can apply for; you just have to find the ones you want and apply.
There are a number of places on the web where you can find a great deal of information about what is available and how you can apply. Before you apply to any of the opportunities available, be sure to read about how each one works, what the requirements are to apply and it is also very important to know what the deadline is to submit the application. If you take one thing away from this article, it’s to apply early! There is only so much money to go around and if you are late, you could miss the bus.
Probably the most common college financial aid accessed is FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This type of aid is found at fafsa.ed.gov and there is a lot of useful information available on this site. The application may be a bit time consuming and you may need your parents to help out but it is rather easy to do. Because the prior year’s tax info is needed, many parents wait until after they’ve filed. Yes this information is necessary, but your parents can estimate the figures and update the form later.
Another place to find college financial aid guidance on the web are websites like www.finaid.org which provides several options for aid, a calculator and a FAQ/option to ask an advisor a question(s) you can’t find the answer for. There is also a section that discusses “beyond financial aid”. There is a section for students, parents and also FAAs/Educators.
If you visit financialaidfinder.com, you will find numerous links about college financial aid, scholarships, and about loans. This site has links galore to savings plans, basic information and terms, available programs and tips for financial planning while the student is still in high school. There are over 10 different categories you can review and an overwhelming amount of posts on different topics all related to financial aid for college.
Of course, there are a number of different ways you can obtain financial aid. There are college savings plans, student loans (private and federal), gifts, state financial aid, grants, scholarships and even through work study programs. Within each of these options, there are multiple avenues that can be accessed for possible financial aid.
In regards to student grants, there is the well-known Pell grants, the FSEOB (Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants) or the Academic Competitiveness Grant. These are awarded based on the students individual need and again the sooner you apply for the next school year the better chance you have.
For state financial aid, each state is different in regards to their requirements and to obtain the current information you can contact your state’s educations assistance office or go to their main website. For example in Iowa, the Iowa College Aid Commission office in Des Moines would be contacted. If you search by your states name and then “commission office” the proper office’s link should be shown.
Many students opt for student loans and this can be a good and a bad thing. With the economy as it is, do your research on the type of loan you are applying for and what the requirements are to pay it back. If you don’t think you will be able to repay in a timely manner, then you may want to look elsewhere for financial aid unless this is your last resort.
If you are still unsure where to go for help in paying for college, make an appointment with someone in the college’s financial aid office. They can help direct you to what might be best for you. Finding the best route for you can be a challenge but once you’re on track, it will get a lot easier. There is a lot of college financial aid available for everyone, you just have to apply.