5 Ways to Increase Financial Aid

There are many ways to fund a college education. Taking out federal loans or a private bank loan have traditionally been the most common options to take, but banks and other financial institutions are starting to become a little stricter in their lending practices.

Some of these restrictions are based on parent’s income and financial aid policies. These restraints may worry some, but it is still entirely possible to apply for financial aid even if you encounter these roadblocks. If you are looking to increase your amount of financial aid, you may want to follow a few of these tips:

First to apply

The old mentality is that the early bird gets the worm, the same can be said for financial aid. The quicker you are when applying for loans, the more preferential treatment you will receive. If you choose to wait to apply for a loan, you may not have the same luxuries as those who applied right away. Experts say that waiting until the priority deadline, the last point when you will be considered for loans, can be counterproductive. You can still submit your application by the deadline, but institutions will more than likely put you at the bottom of the list. Every school has their own deadlines regarding applying for loans, but if you apply quicker, you will have a greater chance of receiving them.

Apply for FAFSA

An important aspect to remember when applying for aid is that even if you don’t plan on getting a need-based loan, which is a federal loan provided by the government, it is still a good idea to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Federal loans come with numerous repayment plans, fixed rates and forgiveness possibilities, so if you are funding your education through private loans or other means and encounter problems, federal loans can be a good fall back plan.

Choosing a school that is right for you

There are many factors when determining when you are applying for school. These can range from tuition, distance from home and academic prominence. As you are investigating what school will best fit your standards, be sure to keep in mind a school’s financial aid rules. One of the best ways to cut tuition is to find a school that offers students several financial aid options and can help pay for enrollment. You can discover this by calling up the financial aid department and asking them a few questions regarding how much they can help you out.

As you are considering where you want to get your college education, consider how much a school wants you. Whether it is through academics or sports, there are many ways a school can entice a student to enroll. Some ways a school tries to lure students to school is through merit aid. This form of financial aid is awarded to students based on academic, artistic or athletic achievements. Experts say that this type of aid will run through the entire course of a student’s time at school, which is also beneficial.

Ask nicely

Increasing your amount of financial aid can be as simple as just asking nicely. Experts say that writing an effective proposal to a provider can be a surefire way to attain a few more dollars in your financial aid hunt.

While applying for loans, ask the financial aid department whether there are any school-related forms of aid. This can be either grants from a department or a work study program. These options are usually available on a first-come, first-served basis, so make sure you contact the school right away to attain these. Working a few hours in a computer lab can help you pay for tuition.

529 savings account 

In many cases, a student’s amount of financial aid is determined by their parent’s finances. Assets, income and other financial commitments are all ways for financial institutions to determine how much they will allow a student to borrow. Parents can help their children save money for school by opening a 529 Plan. This type of savings plan is designed to let parents put after-tax money into a savings account for a beneficiary, usually a child. When money is withdrawn from this account for educational purposes, you will receive certain tax benefits. Experts recommend holding off using the 529 plan till the end of college because you will not be applying for anymore aid. Most states offer this savings plan, but be sure to double check if your state lets you apply for this option. You don’t want to bank on this type of aid and then find out that you are not eligible to get it.

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