8 tools that can unearth college financial aid
How to Get College Financial Aid
by Kalman A. Chany
5 Ways to Win Scholarship Money
Scholarships, Grants, and Loan Forgiveness Programs
- Assume you're eligible. Don't rule yourself out because of income or academics. And don't rule out a college because you think it's too expensive. The higher the cost, the more aid you may receive.
- Don't wait to be accepted to a college to apply for aid. The coffers may be empty by spring.
- Get application forms as soon as possible. You'll need the 2013-2014 federal FAFSA form. (The online version was available starting January 1, 2012. Paper versions are freely available by late-December by calling 800-433-3243.) You may also need to complete the College Board's 2012-2013 CSS PROFILE application, state aid forms, and forms provided by the colleges.
- Know the deadlines and be sure to meet each one. Many colleges have different deadlines for different forms. Some may be due in early January, though most are due mid January-March.
- Figure out your "expected family contribution." Use worksheets in financial aid guidebooks to calculate (before you apply) what the colleges will estimate you can afford to pay. Be sure to get up-to-date information as the rules and formulas change every year.
- Maximize your aid eligibility. Freshman year aid awards are based in part on income for the tax year ending December 31 of the student's senior year in high school. Consider also making appropriate adjustments to your assets, debts, and retirement provisions before you apply.
- Follow instructions carefully on the application forms. Common mistakes that can disqualify your applications are forgetting to sign them, leaving lines blank, and using the wrong academic year's version of the forms.
- Do your income tax forms early. To meet early aid application deadlines, you may need to do a draft version of your income tax return with estimated numbers.
From Paying For College Without Going Broke: 2012 Edition
Kalman A. Chany is the author of Paying For College Without Going Broke: 2012 Edition (Random House / Princeton Review). For more about the book, visit http://www.randomhouse.com
Take the Next Step
- For all things "college," please visit the TDS library.
- Turn everyday activities into money for college. Visit upromise.com to set up your account today.
- Save hundreds on your college textbooks with BookRenter.com!
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor: Click Here
Trending on TDS
- 13 ways to pull your kids away from technology this summer
- Family reunion food
- Baby toys you can make
- 9 tools for getting and staying organized
- Making ends meet as a single parent
- Kid friendly vacations on a tank of gas
- 5 big bills you can cut fast
- What you shouldn't (and should) buy in July
- 5 ways kids learn and earn from Minecraft
- 5 ideas for a kid-free mom cave
- In your 30s with kids? You need life insurance
- 4 steps to a simpler (and more frugal) life
- What is the cost of raising a child?
- Spouse income calculator
- Should my spouse work, too?
- College savings calculator
- Home budget calculator