College, it is the next big step for many young teens into adulthood. Being away from home, new responsibilities, way more independence, it can be overbearing. The biggest stress with going off to college though is money. How are you going to pay for all these classes, boarding, and supplies? And it seems like it gets more expensive year after year. An Edward Jones Survey* showed that only 17% of Americans believe they can cover costs of college. That means 83% are unsure if they are able to afford to go to college. But, with the right advice and good financial aid we can lower that 83%.
Financial Aid Starts with FAFSA
According to the college board, there are three simple steps that could excel you on your path to obtaining financial aid. The first and far most important step is filling out and submitting your FAFSA. This allows you to be considered for the greatest amount of aid in terms of grants, loans, scholarships, or work-study jobs. And get this, FAFSA is 100% free to fill out! FAFSA uses tax returns to determine your financial need and how much to distribute to you and the type of aid you will receive the money in. Just be sure to check with your college and on the FAFSA website when the form opens and when it is due by.
The financial aid office is there to help
The next important step to getting financial aid is to check with your college to see if there are any other aid forms required. A lot of colleges have their own funds to award their own scholarships, grants, or loans. Check out to the CSS website to find the deadlines to fill out the form to ensure you get the most amount of aid possible and call or visit your own college’s financial aid office to seek any more forms out that can also grant you some financial assistance.
The final step in getting financial help is to search and research for private scholarships. Applying to many of these will increase your chances of being awarded with scholarships. It will only add to the financial aid you may have received from FAFSA and your college. There are so many private scholarships out there for a wide variety of reasons. Some are academic or essay based and some are based on ethnicity, language, or even personal appearance. No matter what your personal taste is, there is a scholarship out there for you to apply to. Each application you do will only help you along your college journey.