After all the carefree summer fun, the leaves are changing colors and the season is coming to an end, Fall semester is fast approaching and tuition is due! Even though the thoughts of how you were going to pay for college slipped your mind, between trips to the beach and amusement parks, there are still ways to secure your spot financially, for the upcoming semester. Here is how to secure your money fast without having to postpone higher education or drop your classes.
In the best case scenario, you would have already completed your Federal Application For Student Aid (FAFSA). This application determines your need for aid, by calculating your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and which grant or loans you qualify for. If you have not already filled this out, this will be the first task to accomplish. Do this by logging on to FAFSA, be sure to have tax forms, social security number, and if needed, a guardian at hand.
It is always better to fill out this form sooner, rather than later. The FAFSA opens January 1st of each year. It is most desirable to be completed before your school's priority date. That way you can get the maximum amount you qualify for.
The second step is to look for scholarships. There still may be time to apply for them. Be sure to keep in mind that some do require additional submissions, like essays, academic transcripts, or a creative project. Also, many college bound students may be applying, so be sure to stand out.
Unlike loans, scholarships do not have to be repaid, and most are not based on showing a financial need. Doing a simple scholarship search online, on websites like Fastweb.com, provides students with up to date scholarship opportunities.
Based on experience, the FAFSA usually takes, at the least, a week or two at the most, to go through the process of awarding financial aid to the student. The award will typically include federal or state grants, and scholarships if applicable. These awards do not have to be repaid.
The Federal Pell Grant, which is automatically apply for when filling out your FAFSA, is the most common grant awarded to students. A qualifying student may receive up to $5,550 per academic year. Other grants that may be awarded may be based on academic scores and/or the student's expected major in college.
In addition to grants and scholarships, if the financial aid awarded does not cover your educational expenses, there are loans available to the student. Looking into federal or private loans, will be the third step to finding a solution for educational expenses.
Loans fall into two categories: need and non-need based loans. These loans are available federally and/or by banks and organizations. Need based loans are designed to meet the family's remaining need, expenses to met by grants and scholarships. Non need based loans are designed to help pay part of the family's EFC, as stated by The Princeton Review.
Federally Subsidized Perkins and Stafford loans are need based loans, with interest rates far below standard. Plus Loans, are not based on need. Federally funded loans are available directly to the student or parent, and in most cases they do not require credit authorization.
Other organizations like, Sallie Mae, Wells Fargo, Citibank and Bank of America offer private student loans. Interest rates may be greater than or equal to federally funded loans. These loans may require a credit worthy cosigner, if the student does not have a positive credit history.
Applications and more information on these loans can usually be found, at colleges' financial aid office or can be filled out online. Though the process of submitting applications for loans may take a while to be approved. Most college's may post pone payment until other financial assistance has arrived. Loans do have to be repaid, but most organizations defer payments up to six months after the student graduates, leave school, or drops below half time status.
If the student's awarded financial aid, loans included, still do not meet their needs, most colleges are available to set up payment plans. Try finding a part time job, that will not interfere with your school work load. College career centers, assist students in finding job opportunities.
Relatives, church or local organizations are also another resource to help pay for college. Just simply asking people for support financially, may lead to a high volume of generous supporters. Having a "Going away to college party" can also help. You may receive gifts in the form of money to small appliances. From experience, I am sure they will contribute to your college fund.
If money is still tight, going to a local community college may be more economical. Spending two years at a community college then transfer to a university or college, cuts college costs in half.
This information provided are simple guidelines to getting money for college when you need it fast. If these steps are followed precisely, there should be no worries about your college expenses. Now gear up for college and take advantage of these years of higher education.