8 Tips for Beginner’s Requesting Student Financial Aid (2016)
There are numerous types of financial aid which a student may apply for school. These financial aids fall into two major categories: need-based or merit-based.
One may receive government aids (both federal and state), and as well as aids from college and other organizations.
Financial aid can also be categorized as to whether the grant received has to be repaid or not.
The Federal Student Aid website provides information on both types of financial aids, grants, types of loans and other campus-based programs.
Every January, the federal government releases an updated Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
This form serves as a one-stop shop for college students to inform them of the different types of federal government financial assistance including loans, grants and work-study aid.
In addition, many other institutions use the FAFSA to determine how they will allocate dole outs for financial aid to students.
8 Tips for Requesting Financial Aid for School
- Assess whether you think you will receive aid or not. Even if you think that your family’s income is too high to qualify for a grant, you may still opt to apply for financial aids. As Finaid.com estimates, even members of households earning up to $180,000 might qualify for some form of financial aid.
Some schools require students to complete the FAFSA in their first year to qualify for aid in years to come.
- Plan ahead. File your income tax return. If it is not possible, you can estimate numbers using a year-end pay stub and then correct them later. By using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you can transfer your tax data automatically into your FAFSA.
While filing the form online is still the quickest, but if you don’t have internet access, you can file a paper copy. To file online, you should first get a personal identification number (PIN) from www.pin.ed.gov.
- File ahead of schedule. Some schools and states employ first-come, first-serve basis when awarding financial aid. Filing of the FAFSA in January or early February ensures one’s chance of meeting with the deadlines.
- Make sure that all entries made are truthful. Be sure that all information which you will enter on the form is correct. Fill out every field in order to avoid delays or being disqualified.
If something does not apply to your situation, enter a zero or “N/A” rather than leaving a blank. Financial aid fraud results to lost or forfeiture of aid, monetary fines and even jail time, as the same is a crime – whether or not it results in more financial aid.
- Aim for high-tier institutions. One may still apply to high-tier schools if you believe that you are an outstanding student but your family’s finances are not that stable. Elite institutions charge no tuition and do not even require loans for students from families earning less than $65,000 per year.
Kids from families with annual income of $200,000 or less do not pay full price at many colleges.
- Check other required forms. Schools have other financial aid forms aside from the FAFSA. Some schools may use the CSS/Financial Aid Profile for non-federal financial aid. You may complete both forms if your school requires you to do so.
- Ask for reconsideration. Your chosen financial aid package might not be able to meet your expectations or that offers might differ. You may follow up with the financial aid office.
You can also ask a school to reconsider your offer by providing additional information via letter. You may also indicate for instance, if your family recently faced an unemployment, divorce, or large medical bills.
- Do not go overboard. Do not go into unnecessary amounts of debt to attend a certain school or program. Student loan debt endures for many years, and educational debt may lead to bankruptcy. Plan your aid with your expected career, income and loan.
It is of no surprise that it is a hard task for college students to estimate future income. It is still best to keep debt payments (including student loans and credit cards) at below 20 to 30 percent of expected monthly income.