Many college students rely on some sort of financial aid to help pay for college tuition. While there are several forms of aid in which students can look into for financial aid options, it is important to remember that there are also some common mistakes that students can make when it comes to researching money for aid. The following are some common mistakes that students make in financial aid:
- Not applying at all. Many students feel like they will not qualify or be able to get aid, so they skip on applying for aid altogether. What many students don’t know is that nearly everyone can qualify for some type of financial aid. In 2006, the American Council on Education estimated that 1.8 million students that came from low-to-middle income families did not fill out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Of those, 1.5 million would have qualified for a Pell Grant, which awards money for tuition.
- Waiting until the last minute to fill out a FAFSA or missing deadlines. Not getting in a FAFSA or other application for aid in by the deadline could cost you thousands of dollars. Missing a deadline for FAFSA or any other sort of aid application is crucial, as it will mean that you won’t qualify for aid. Students are always encouraged to apply for aid as soon as possible.
- Not double-checking your application for errors. Filling out a FAFSA is an important role in searching for financial aid and it is important to fill out the application not only to the best of your knowledge, but to avoid errors as well. According to FinAid!, making a mistake on your application can delay your process, as it will take an additional 2-3 weeks to process a corrected application.
- Not finding and applying for scholarships and grants. While applying for federal aid is a good idea to help with easing tuition costs, it is important to remember that there are other ways to receive money for school. There are a variety of organizations, foundations, and associations that offer college students hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarship money every year. Scholarship opportunities can be found through simple Google searches or by scholarship search sites such as Fast Web.
- Failing to research and shop around when it comes to student loans. If you can not receive financial aid and have to get student loans to help with tuition, be sure to consider applying for federal loans before applying for loans from private lenders. Federal loans typically have much lower interest rates than those offered by private entities.
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