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Top Tips for Getting Financial Aid

Home > Articles > General > Affording College: Top Tips for Getting Financial Aid

Need money for college? You're in luck. According to the College Board, over $129 billion in student financial aid is available. In order to get your piece of the student financial aid pie, start by researching the available student financial aid programs and deciding which ones fit your situation.

Visit your library, local bookstores, and local high school guidance offices for books listing the numerous student financial aid opportunities and sources of money for college. Search the Internet to find quality websites that tell you how to locate money for college. Consider grants and scholarships, since many skills and talents can be rewarded with money for college. Be sure to research thoroughly.

First, Fill Out a FAFSA Application

Because most money for college comes in the form of assistance from the federal government, you should begin the process by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. You can get the FAFSA by visiting your local high school guidance office, at the FAFSA website, or by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID. Submit your FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1 of the year you plan to enter college, even if you're not sure where you're going to school yet.

You may also need to complete the CSS Profile Application, a financial aid application from the College Board, which some schools require for non-federal student aid. Check with your college.

More Tips for Getting Money for College

You'll fill out a lot of applications as you locate money for college, so stay organized throughout the student financial aid application process. Start files on the assorted student financial aid programs as you gather information. Use a calendar to keep up with application deadlines, and create a spreadsheet that lists each student financial aid application, deadline, and all requirements for the application. Check each application requirement off as you fulfill it. Make and file dated copies of all applications you submit.

And, during this somewhat laborious application process, stay positive. With a bit of hard work and perseverance, you will most likely find the money you need for college.

Sources:
College Board
Free Application for Federal Financial Aid