First Things First when Applying for Financial Aid

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First Things First when Applying for Financial Aid

If I could make two suggestions to anyone applying for financial help, they would be:

  • Complete the FAFSA Form EARLY, and
  • Search for and Apply for scholarships as often as possible

Why?  The two biggest mis-perceptions about students applying for financial aid are:

  • The FAFSA Form is too complicated (so I will put it off until later)
  • There are no scholarship I will qualify for

The FAFSA Form is not easy.  However, it can be done and most people will have to complete it anyway.  The Student Loan Network has created a guide to help you with this challenging task: www.FAFSAonline.com.   Students can use the guide to help you complete the FAFSA. It is kept up to date and reflects any changes that are made to the form from time to time by the plan administrators.

Apply Early for Your Student Loan

Get it done early to qualify for more help.  Applying early also helps you understand your financial situation before you even begin attending college. Aside from getting good marks and all of the other stressful situations at college, figuring out your finances can be the most stressful thing for many students who are trying to figure out how to make ends meet. Most federal and school financial help programs will require that you have completed the FAFSA.  If you have it done early, there will be more financial help available for you to qualify for.  The longer you wait, the less funds there will be left for you to apply for… In addition if there are many applicants ahead of you, you will have to wait a long time to just to hear whether you will qualify for a student loan or not and for how much.

Finally, there are thousands of scholarships designed for all types of people – even you.  We have created a useful tool with an ebook on searching the internet and applying for scholarships.  Search our database and/or download your free ebook online at: Student Scholarship Search Guide.  Again, apply as early as you can since many awards won’t be there if you wait too long.

Some Tips to Filling Our Your Student Loan Application

Always check your application several times before sending it in. Any errors or omissions can really slow down your application and may even cause it to be rejected.  Even small things such as failing to provide the correct address or zip code can cause big delays.

The form itself is color coded to help guide students and parents to fill in the correct areas with the right information. Pay attention to these colors and make sure that all information is properly filled in by the correct party. This is another area that causes applications to be delayed.

If by chance you end up on a web site that suggests that you need to pay for your application to be submitted, you are on the wrong web site. Applications for FAFSA are free. Students do not need to pay for it. It is unfortunate that these kinds of web sites exist, so watch out for these and just move to the correct web site for FAFSA.

Apply early for your student loan! We cannot over emphasize this point enough. There is only so much money available to go around and if it is all gone by the time they get to your application, you may find that your application is rejected for this reason alone. You could also find that your loan is lower because most of the money is taken by other students who got their applications in early. Have your application already to go so that you can send it in on the first day that loans are being accepted.

Read and Understand the Terms of Your Student Loan

Most students are just happy to obtain a student loan and do not pay attention to the terms and conditions of the loan. Depending on your loan, you may not need to pay interest on your loan until 6 months after you graduate or make any payments at all. This is designed to give students time to find a job and a place to live in the city were they find employment.

Make sure that the lenders have your correct address if you have to move when you graduate and always meet the terms of your loans to protect your credit rating. You will want to have a very good credit rating when you begin applying for loans for things such as cars and homes. Good credit rating scores will ensure that you can find low interest loans when it comes time.