College Financial Aid

financial aidA college education is a very valuable asset for an individual: not only does it allow for personal growth, but also it is a necessity when pursuing any sort of professional career. Unfortunately, costs associated with attending college have never been higher. We believe that attending college is something that should be financially plausible for anybody who wishes to do so. Unfortunately, college financial aid budgets at both the college and federal level are not high enough to accommodate all financial need, and grants and scholarships cannot always help students and families out to the necessary extent. In these situations, families turn to either federal or private student loans as supplemental forms of college financial aid to fill the tuition gap.

What student advice will you give a student getting ready to start college?

Somewhere along the way you have probably got hopefully an award letter of some kind. If it had merit financial aid, you should understand the terms of that merit scholarship to continue whether you have to maintain a grade point average, major the same subject, whatever else you might have to do. If its need based aid you have to look very carefully at the components and see what your responsibilities are. If it’s a grant, that’s free money, that’s a good thing to have but you ought to be prepared the next year to submit new forms in order to get it again. The loans are very important, you sign a promissory note, one time now and they just put different amounts of loans on each year. So if you get a loan you should understand the terms of it. And if you borrow that much for four years, how much do you have to repay when you graduate. And if you have a job, understand where the job is, how often you have to work, the hours, what your responsibility is and whether you get a pay check every couple of weeks or whether that money kind of disappears in some account. So mainly shift the responsibility which up to now is, largely probably with the parents as far as financial aid, paying issues and shift it on your own shoulders because after all it’s your education.

About College Financial Aid and Expenses
Along with tuition, college expenses continue to rise annually. Some private colleges’ costs are greater than $59,000 per year when you include books, study materials, and living expenses. Attending public universities as an in-state student is usually a lower cost option, since the tuition for in-state residents is subsidized by the state. For out-of-state students, however, tuition is still fairly expensive, and could be similar to other private universities. After tuition and room and board are paid, textbooks will often cost a student $500-$1,000 per year, and the average student will incur about $1,500-$2,000 in personal expenses annually. College financial aid offices do factor these personal expenses in when awarding financial aid packages, but often do so conservatively, meaning you will most likely spend more than they predict.

Receiving College Financial Aid
In most cases, students attending college will require college financial aid. Fortunately, students have a variety of options for financial assistance, including grants, scholarships, and both federal and private student loans. In order to receive any type of financial aid, a student must fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as the FAFSA. Both the federal government and the school’s financial aid office will use a student’s FAFSA to determine his/her financial need, and they will prepare a financial aid package and present it to the student. Such a package will contain various aid options, possibly including grants, federal student loans, and a work-study program. Students can and should also seek outside scholarships to help pay for school. If a student’s financial aid package does not fully cover costs, then explore private student loans to cover the financial gap. There are plenty of options and types of college financial aid available to students, so do not let the high costs be a deterrent to attending college.


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