Applying for Financial Aid For College and University



Applying for financial aid for college or university can be an extremely daunting task for both parents and students.  Finding that  financial aid that is right for you is not easy, and learning the difference between grants, scholarships, loans, subsidized loans, unsubsidized loans, federal or local government financial aid can be an overwhelming task.  We, here at CollegeDepot understand the difficulties involved and aim to make the process easier.  The goal is to find the most financial aid money that you are not required to pay back and if that aid does not cut it, finding the right student loans with low interest, or no interest rates. After all, students should be able to focus their efforts on learning, and not on the headache of finding the financial aid to make it all happen. 



When to Start Applying for Financial Aid:

It is important to start the financial aid process as early as possible.  Some say as early as your child is born.  Many people will start saving for their soon-to-be students college or university at an early stage, but the fact of the matter is, that most parents can not afford to, or don't think about it until the last minute.  Lets be clear though. You do not have to be rich or well-off to send a student to college or university.  In reality, you don't have to have any money at all.  The important thing to remember about Financial aid is to start the process as early as is possible for you and your individual situation.

Where to start Financial Aid Process:

We all know that finding the most money for college is not a fun task.  However, done correctly, most people can save a considerable amount of money in the long run.  Depending on your financial situation, the students grades and the students willingness to search, many students can actually attend  a college or university at no cost to them.  As you drop down the scale of the above mentioned, the more out of pocket expense you will have.  If you are a student and reading this, you are probably realizing now why everyone pushed you to get good grades in school.  In addition to establishing self pride, you can actually save a ton of money with those good grades.  If you were like me, however, the future seemed too far away and grades were never that much of a priority.  If you are one of those people, don't worry.  There is still financial aid available for you.  And, if your family has no money to help with the expense of College or University, don't worry either.  There may be even more money available for you. 


The best place to start looking for financial aid is with your guidance department in your school.  We all know that they are not always the most helpful, but many colleges and universities will have left information with them for the students to use.  The should have information on all the government financial aid programs available.  When you go to the guidance office ask for all the information available, and I mean ALL.  You may need a suitcase or, worse a fork-lift to get it all home, but do it anyway.  It may at first seem like you are tackling the impossible, but trust me, it will all become clear. 

Once you have all the financial aid information that your school has to offer, take it home and start to organize it.  While organizing it, you will probably start to get a feel of what is available in the way of grants, loans and scholarships. 

After organizing all the information, start to look through  all the packets.  Get a feel for what information will be required to fill out the financial aid applications.  Generally, for grants, or free money, you will be required to submit tax information which will allow the government to determine your need for financial in comparison to other students.  So, having your previous years tax documents ready is also another good idea. 

If you have already decided which college or university you would like to attend, contact the financial aid office of the institution and request that they send you information on available scholarships.  It is important to remember that this is not the only place to look for scholarships.  There is literally an infinite number of places to get a scholarship.  Look, Look, Look.  Eventually, we will post a resource for finding scholarships.  There are so many available, that you may find that if you have green hair and weigh exactly 121 pounds, there is an organization willing to give you money to go to college.  Well, maybe not to that extreme, but there is definitely a scholarship that will apply to anyone's individual situation.  More on scholarships to come.


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