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Financial Aid for Students

Types of Financial Aid

blogstudent.jpg There are three basic types of financial aid that college students can receive: federal, private, and school supplied. Most forms of aid will fall into one of the three categories, but the qualifications for students to succeed in receiving financial aid tend to vary.

The first, and most common, type of aid is federal financial aid. This type of aid is provided or sponsored by the government, usually through private banks or lending institutions. A Stafford Loan, the Pell Grant Program, and the Federal Perkins Loan Program are examples of the type of aid the federal government supplies. The first step in applying for federal aid for education is to fill out the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This document helps the government, your school, and potential lenders decide how much need you have to pay for your education. If you qualify for aid, your school will contact you and tell you your federal options.

The second type of financial aid is loans, grants, and scholarships offered by private organizations. For example, an employer might offer a scholarship for community service to the children of the company’s employees. Most often, private aid comes in the form of a scholarship that does not need to be paid back. Sometimes private organizations or companies choose to offer a loan to an individual for their education. Grants may be offered in return for a certain amount of time working or interning with the company.

Finally, many schools offer their own financial aid. This can be scholarships, loans, or work study programs. Defining these types of programs is difficult, since each school is different in their policies, restrictions, and requirements. Most of the time there is a GPA requirement to qualify for school-offered aid. Many schools use the results of the FAFSA to determine eligibility for their financial aid programs. A student wishing to take advantage of school-offered programs should contact the financial aid office at their school of choice.

Federal Financial Aid

When preparing to apply for federal financial aid, determine what documents you will need may at first seem difficult. What kind of documentation are you responsible for reporting when you are applying for federal financial aid? Further, how do you know that you will have everything you need? Finally, what if you don’t have all of the documentation immediately: what then?

First, you should take the time to gather the typical documentation needed when filing for federal financial aid. You will need last year’s tax records, your driver’s license, your social security number, bank statements, and business statements if you run your own business. Further, if you have stock and bond investments, you will need that documentation as well. Also include any child support records you receive and any nontaxable income you have received like Worker’s Compensation benefits documentation. Once you have collected such documents you are ready to begin the federal financial aid application.

If you should encounter a problem while filling out the application you can always save the application and reenter it to complete it later on. For example, if you find that you require additional documentation that you don’t have immediate access to, you simply save the application and complete it after you have gotten the appropriate documentation. There’s no need to panic if you don’t have everything you need right away: as long as you finish and submit the application by the deadline you will have no difficulty applying for federal financial aid.

When filing for Federal student financial aid online, there are a few things it pays to know ahead of time. First and foremost, anyone that is looking to file for Federal student financial aid via the computer will need to apply for a PIN number. A PIN number is assigned to the computer user and is used as an electronic signature. The PIN can be used to access the Federal student financial aid website and it is needed to reenter the site at the time for renewal of a FAFSA application. Once a PIN is received, which is sent via the regular postal service, it is important that it is kept in a safe place for future use.

The second thing it pays to know when filing for Federal student financial aid is that there are deadlines associated with filling out the application. Deadlines must be adhered to for each school year in order for a prospective student to qualify for financial aid. Typically, the deadlines are listed on the website for FAFSA renewal and often times a school will let a student know when it is time to fill out a new FAFSA application. However, the responsibility for renewing the FAFSA application is solely the student’s.

Finally, a prospective student needs to be fully prepared before they begin filing for Federal student financial aid. They should get together all the material they will need, including their driver’s license, their social security number, the previous year’s tax records and the like. Getting ready beforehand makes the entire process a whole lot easier: a student should not have to search for documents that are needed when they can have them close at hand.

Financial Aid Application

Many students filling out a financial aid application for the first time may be concerned about the process. How complicated is a financial aid application? What kind of information will a financial application require? How long does it take for a financial aid application to be processed? Such questions are common among new students filling out a financial aid application and rightly so: the application will determine how much assistance they receive from the government in terms of assistance with college costs.

First, the financial aid application, while a lengthy application is not very complicated to fill out. The student or the student’s parents will want to gather some documents together to be prepared for filling out the form. The form can be filled out online, but it will require answers to questions pertaining to income, citizenship, and the likes. Tax records will be required to provide the appropriate tax information and a student should already have a school selected before filling out what is called the FAFSA or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

The application is definitely considerable in length and the person filling out the application has two options available: they can start the application and finish it later or they can set aside the time to complete the entire application. Once the application is completed it is sent for review. The government will then contact the school that the student has chosen to attend to let them know what the student qualifies for. The student then receives notification from the school about how much financial aid they can expect to receive and what they are financially liable for, if anything.

College Financial Aid

In today’s world a higher education is a commodity one can hardly afford to do without. Unfortunately, the cost of a higher education is hardly a commodity an individual can afford. That circumstance demands that almost everyone who wants a degree to seek some form of college financial aid.

Most students can find out the basic information they need on the topic of college financial aid in the counselor’s office at their high school. The public library is another place to request information. The Internet is also a great tool in researching the means of securing the needed data to obtain the funds necessary to go to school.

The good news is that approximately thirty five billion dollars is available for college financial aid each year. Most students qualify for some sort of assistance to cover the costs of a college education that are beyond their ability to pay.

General requirements to qualify for college financial aid are to be able to demonstrate a financial need, have a high school diploma or equivalency certificate, have a valid Social Security number, and be a citizen of the United States or an eligible foreign student enrolled in a valid degree program.

The predominant types of college financial aid are scholarships, work study programs, grants and loans. The most desirable of these are scholarships and grants, as they do not require repayment upon completion of the degree. There are many types of academic scholarships and grants, as well as government sponsored grants. Usually there are specific guidelines for gaining and maintaining these sources of assistance, and they are usually for specified periods of time like a semester or an academic year. Work study refers to a job associated with the institution the student is attending. The wages are applied to tuition. Loans are another source of college financial aid, usually there are attractive interest rates and durations of the loan that allow repayment for years after one has obtained the degree and a good job.

Financial Aid College Assistance

Financial aid college assistance, the words that make every prospective college student shudder just a little bit. After all, while it is necessary for the sake of your finances, financial aid college assistance requires a great deal of hard work with little results. For this reason, many students are reluctant to fire up their computers and start pounding out financial aid college assistance applications or essays for competitions they probably won’t win.

A brilliant, hard-working youth may have a chance - albeit very miniscule - at winning large national essay scholarships. However, this requires an excess of talent that many people don’t have. So what are the other ways to earn financial aid for college?

Perhaps the best and most sure method of success rests in your PSAT and SAT scores. While natural intelligence does play a significant role in these scores, excessive preparation and hard work can overcome any IQ to produce an impressive score. Merit scholars find a surprising amount of financial aid readily available from nearly all colleges and universities.

The other method is to search out scholarships that have few entrants and are more fitted to your strengths. For example, a left-handed person may apply for a scholarship just for being left-handed! Good with duct-tape? Make a suit for yourself and a dress for your date, both out of duct-tape of course, wear them to the prom, submit a picture, and you just might find yourself rolling in financial aid for the college of your choice.

The real question, however, is how to find these unique scholarships. Many Internet sites provide scholarship info, and that alone can be a deterrent to prospective students. There are just so many sites out there that it can be intimidating at first. However, there are several tried-and-true sites (such as fastweb.com) that are renowned for their ability to track down obscure scholarships and sort through them all to find those most suited to your unique abilities.

So while finding financial aid may be intimidating and frustrating, a little research and well-aimed hard work may prove invaluable.

Education Financial Aid

family.jpg Having and receiving financial aid for educational purposes is very important to many individuals as it directly ties to their capabilities of pursuing a higher educational status. There are a number of families that are well off, but who feel that the cost of education will be more expensive than they could comfortably afford. Even if a person feels like they are not eligible for education financial aid, it is important that they apply anyway, since there are many instances in which they will be qualified to receive some aid in one form or another.

A person can begin the application process at any point in time after January 1st for the year of their application, even if they are not yet admitted to their school of choice. Education financial aid will need to be applied for every year that the individual wants to be eligible to receive the funds. This means that if a person is attending a four year college, they will need to apply four times in order to receive the proper funding.

There are certain packets of education financial aid that are the responsibility of the parents of the student, while the majority of packets are, in the end, the responsibility of the student. There is a grace period that is attached to the repayment of education financial aid packets that are received by the student. This allows the student some time to stabilize their life before being required to pay back the loan. It is in the best interest of the student to save up during this grace period in order to be able to afford to pay back the packages for their financial aid in a timely and responsible manner.

Education | People | Finance


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