How to Find the Best Colleges for Financial Aid for a Great College Funding Solution
GREAT COLLEGE FUNDING SOLUTION
If you are looking for a college funding solution, first know the best colleges for financial aid before you start to apply. This information applies to United States college students only.
Some colleges have financial aid that goes unused, while others don’t have enough. The college can tell you about their statistics on financial aid. Before accepting a financial aid package, students are required to go through FAFSA entrance counseling. When students apply to FAFSA or the free application for federal student aid, it is best to learn the options for financial aid first.
There are colleges that have huge endowments and are using those to attract and fund qualified students. Others have smaller endowments and more students who need financial aid. The financial aid must be spread amongst those students.
UNDERSTAND THE TERMS OF YOUR COLLEGE FUNDING SOLUTION
Verify with each college their “cost to financial aid ratio”. Most colleges give a maximum of 80% of total college cost in financial aid. This means that if a student is totally dependent on financial aid, they will have to find 20% of their own contribution. If not, they will fall short of paying for the year and will not be allowed to re-enroll the next year.
If you don’t qualify for FAFSA, you will have to get unsubsidized loans. It’s important to know what that means; most students who get them don’t. With unsubsidized loans, interest must be paid while in school or have the loan interest added at the end of college. This added interest can easily double the loan balance at the end of college, which you have to repay. With subsidized loans, the government will pay the interest while a student is in school.
FAFSA ENTRANCE COUNSELING
Many students and parents misunderstand the concept of financial aid. The word “aid” sounds small, but it can end up being a huge and heavy burden for years to come. This is why students and parents are required to get FAFSA entrance counseling.
FAFSA entrance counseling will explain the terms and conditions of your loans, as well as your rights and responsibilities. The other aid you may qualify for may include work-study, scholarships, and grants.
WHY DO ALL FINANCIAL AID RECIPIENTS NEED TO APPLY TO FAFSA?
When you apply to FAFSA, you conveniently apply for many different types of financial aid opportunities.
The FAFSA application is used to list every single college you are interested in attending. When you are accepted to one of those colleges, the information for your chosen college will be taken from FAFSA.
Since a student can list as many colleges as needed on FAFSA, all interest colleges should be listed. Many types of scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study are need-based; colleges get your need from FAFSA.
MAP OUT YOUR COLLEGE FUNDING SOLUTION WITH A SCHOLARSHIP SEARCH
Understanding financial aid and all it should offer can keep student loans low. When students apply for financial aid, they may qualify for a financial aid package. Financial aid mostly applies to low or middle-income students, but there are academic-based scholarships given without financial need. A typical financial aid package usually includes loans. The more expensive the school, the larger the loans will be in a package.
The best defense against high debt is high grades in high school or college. Good grades can lead to college scholarships; some scholarships are not based on grades. A scholarship search should be extreme and early in high school. Every student should search and apply as if their life depended on it. Students should ask family members to help with financing, show them their grades, and discuss their plans.
Many scholarships go unfunded simply because there are no applicants. Study and understand everything about financial aid at the federal financial aid website, which is FAFSA. This is where students can avoid financial aid mistakes from the beginning.
Apply Early for FAFSA, and Then to College
Apply early to FAFSA online, which is best; the college you choose will be the college your award is forwarded to. It may take some time to complete an application online; consistency is the key. Return to the application often to make sure all requests by FAFSA is granted.
Study and understand everything about financial aid at the federal financial aid website, FAFSA; that is where it all starts. And mostly, apply early, and place every single college you remotely think you are interested in on your application.
When you apply online, which is best, the college you choose later will be the college to which your award is forwarded.
Don’t Go to College Blind Understand FAFSA How to Apply
Understand FAFSA how to apply at the government financial aid website. Apply as soon as the application process opens. Read the college catalog online and understand all a college offers. The registrar’s and financial aid office will have more information and answer questions. Understand what courses must be taken to graduate with a given college degree in four years.
Choose at least three fields you are interested in and have good job prospects. Make sure you get the general education courses to major in each of those three fields. No matter what, major in one field by the beginning of your third year so you can graduate in four years, get a job, and start paying down debt right away.
Don’t linger with indecision, and don’t allow yourself to get loan defaults and later a lifetime of bad credit. Your credit rating is one of the most important assets you have for getting low-interest rates later and your ability to rent an apartment, buy a car, or buy a home.
There are many ways a student can go to college debt-free if affordable colleges are the concentration. For affordability, concentrate on Pell Grants, scholarships, and understanding financial aid packages. It also helps for a student to live at home, work part-time and ask relatives for help; this will enable them to have low or no debt.
SHOULD STUDENTS REFINANCE OR CONSOLIDATE STUDENT LOANS?
Consolidation gives students the option to combine all federal student loans into one payment with one loan servicer. The interest rate may increase slightly, but you will maintain federal student loan benefits. Refinancing combines federal student loans with private student loans, and you will lose your federal benefits, and interest rates may increase.
It is best to make timely payments on student loans. When payments are made, plus an additional principal balance, years will be shaved off the loan. Because the additional principal balance will remove some of the interest payments.
When a small monthly amount is placed in a savings account, a graduate can establish a rainy day fund. The best student loans, as I have said, are government-subsidized loans since recipients don’t have to pay interest while in school. But, payments can’t be missed without horrible consequences.
FIND THE BEST COLLEGES FOR FINANCIAL AID AND PAY OFF LOANS
If you pay off your student loans early or on time, you will have peace of mind you never thought attainable.
One issue with student loans that most high school graduates and their parents don’t know is they don’t have the same benefits as private business loans. This means if a student defaults due to sickness or job loss, they could end up in a lot of trouble for years.
There are no hardship benefits with student loans. When a business takes out a large loan and defaults, they have the option of bankruptcy. That is rare and almost never allowed with student loans, so it’s wise to make every single payment in a timely manner.
For students in financial trouble, there is the Income-Based Repayment Plan for federal government loans, but the interest is only temporarily forgiven and builds up in the background. The consequences are that your loan can double or triple while making lower affordable payments. Graduates are usually only given this option for a few years, but it increases the loan balance due on a loan.
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Summary for Colleges for Financial Aid
Students can find the best colleges for financial aid for a great college funding solution. Due to the high cost and complexities of student loans, students are better off identifying affordable colleges with adequate financial aid first if they are aid-dependent. If a student falls into default with student loans, the consequences could be dire.
Financial aid recipients need to apply to FAFSA, the free application for federal student aid. Ask questions such as “FAFSA how to apply”; if not done correctly, a student could lose financial aid. Understand FAFSA entrance counseling and why it needs to be done in one sitting.
Students should focus on loans that can be paid monthly with the entire payment instead of income-based repayment plans. Those plans will save your credit but increase the balance on your original loan.
This article is an update from 2017
It’s important to do your research to find out about financial aid for college. When I was in university recently, there were many bursaries available, but they were not widely advertised…you had to ask about them first!
I have an upcoming Senior and I am not ready! This is our first so I am a little nervous! Thank you for the great information.
It is very important to know all of your options and stay out of student loan debt or keep it very low.
FAFSA was a little complicated for my daughter, but totally worth it in the end. I think it’s a great tool for those just starting out, it can help with tuition
My daughter will start college next year and this is helpful information. I will share it with her to read it also.
My son did FAFSA and it seemed to work okay. A little confusing, but it helped pay for some college. He’ll be going to a 4 year in the fall so hopefully he can get some aid there!
I have 2 kids in high school so this is very useful info. Paying for college is going to be hard for us.
I’ll save this post for when my grandkids get older. Paying for college is alot.
This is such great information. Collage is really expensive. It’s great to get the help wherever you can.
This is good information! My friend is college searching with her daughter. I still have a few years before we dive into this world.
This is a really great and very informative post! I’m surely going to share this with my younger sister. Thanks for sharing this with us!
My son graduated from high school last year. This post is really informative.
Thank you for sharing. College is getting more and more expensive and it has changed so much since I was in college.
So important to do the research for financial aid! Thank you for creating this! Such great tips to reference.
I worked in a college for quite a few years. One thing I discovered is that the scholarships that require essays often sit there unused. People skip them to try for the easier route. My advice: write the essays!
I found that many of scholarship applications were really difficult to figure out so I only used FASFA for funding college.
This was interesting, didn’t know much about scholarships. I’m surprised many are unfunded due to a lack of applicants!
This is great info for those with teens or are going to college. We started a 529 account for our daughter when she was born, so hopefully she’ll be able to pay for college without loans.
I wish that I knew this information before I took out student loans. I’m thankful that I was able to get most of my education using grants and paying cash. I didn’t have to get loans until I started working on my bachelors degree. Unfortunately, due to unexpected life circumstances, I’m unable to use my degree for the most part. I do use a bit of it and can custom code things if needed.
These are good resources to have available to help out those looking to get into or get back into college and have a tight or non-existent budget to work with!
Thank you for this information. My son will be graduating this year so I’m sure I’ll be needing this soon.
College is a very important step of our life that can take us to a better level. It’s great to know our options before entering it.
These are definitely things that we are thinking about right now. My daughter is in the process of thinking about which college she wants to go to.
I wish I had read a post like this before I went to college. Very good advice!