Applying for a college degree is one of the most crucial times in the life of any student. And, sure, much of it is about making the right career choice. However, it’s also about how well you know your budget and can manage your college expenses – FAFSA is a great option for that.
Many a time, students are so invested and stressed about pursuing their dream career or favorite college that they often neglect the financial aspect. They realize this when they have the college acceptance letter in hand but no strategy to pay for it.
Not every parent or student is familiar with the various terms and formalities of applying for financial assistance. Hence, they often miss out on an excellent deal by making mistakes – many of them avoidable. It is better that you start familiarizing yourself with the tactics and techniques. For instance, this article shows the most common misconceptions about financial aid. Get them out of the way!
Additionally, any discussion on the topic remains incomplete without mention of the FAFSA. Many students – and their parents — are not fully aware of the procedure that ensues during and after filling out the form for FAFSA. Others tend to take the application lightly.
To which, we say:
Make the FAFSA a Priority
If you’re a college student, consider filling out the FAFSA as obligatory. You might have come across relatives or acquaintances who have been through this process. And they may even ask you to and disregard the FAFSA as a source of low-cost loans. However, the author of ‘Filing the FAFSA,’ Mark Kantrowitz discusses the significance of filling the FAFSA form every year.
According to the guide, you should do this, irrespective of the returns of financial aid that you’ll receive. Moreover, they warn students against the complicated nature of financial aid formulas. Even subtle things that can change year after year might have an impact on your aid eligibility!
Similarly, you cannot be entirely sure of your financial status. It may change come next year. Aside from that, the FAFSA considers many other things like the number of kids already in college or the college you’re applying in. So, don’t make judgments solely on the experience of your contacts.
The Early Bird Gets the Worm
The FAFSA form usually comes out within the first week of the year. This means you’ve got a good 5-6 months to fill out the form before your college starts. However, financial aid is provided on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis. Therefore, you should submit the form as soon as possible to get an excellent financial deal.
Experts from the field of funding reveal that when it comes to the FAFSA, being in the front of the line matters. Failing that, you may lose your chance at funding to a better prospective student. That makes sense because, at the beginning of the financial aid application season, there is relatively more money to give away. But that changes as the season progresses.
Nevertheless, you must not submit your form hastily. The accuracy of the information provided determines your chances of getting financial assistance. You can save a partially filled-out form as a draft with a temporary password so that you can review it. Go over it, so you are certain about the data in it.
Secrets about the FAFSA That No One Told You About
The FAFSA form is no ordinary form. It is ‘smart,’ which means that it has the ability to interpret the information you provide by leading you through a series of questions accordingly. You can get more insight into an individual question by hovering the cursor over it. Make sure but make sure not to skip any of them.
The student, as well as the parents/ guardian, should create a personal FSA ID because it serves as your FAFSA signature. Additionally, the color-coded forms determine whether it’s for students or guardians. Check the page borders; blue is for students, and purple is for parents. Fill the right one!
Finally, you should know that the list of ten colleges that FAFSA requires is not priority-based. Hence, it has no order. The colleges do not have access to your submission list. Besides, you can send the form to more than the listed ten colleges (if you want). You can do so by changing the list of colleges after you have received the confirmation and SAR for the first submission.
Availing a Scholarship Is Not a Cup of Tea
Filling the FAFSA form doesn’t mean guaranteed financial aid. It’s like a lottery; every toss may get you a win. So whenever you hear about students getting generous college funds, it’s because they tried their luck in every possible way. It is only wise to apply for every scholarship plan that you’re qualified for.
Also, apply for smaller scholarships along the way. However, it can get very hectic applying for so many different scholarships and then getting to know their formalities. If you’re someone aiming for higher education, aim for the scholarship plans that you should seriously consider, like the Fullbright Scholarship. Get more information on it here.
Prioritize Federal Loans over Private Loans
Private loans are not necessarily death traps. Although, compared to federal student loans, they can prove quite troublesome. This is because private student loans hold parents equally liable to repay the funds. Student loan attorneys and counselors for troubled borrowers think of there being no safety net with a private student loan. It’s not uncommon for parents — who were co-signers on private student loans –to sue their child because their kid isn’t making payments.
In short, this article can help you make the right decision when applying for either a federal or private loan.
Throughout the cumbersome journey of getting into a college, you’ll need expert advice to guide you correctly, inform you about all the formalities and technicalities, and get you the best possible deal. Contact us and let us be your companions and advisors.