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Find answers to our Frequently Asked Questions.
Posted August 10, 2021

No matter the circumstances, financial aid can make college more affordable for all. As students prepare for the start of the next semester, it’s important to keep an eye out for free funding to pay for school.

Here are some simple, yet powerful financial aid tips to keep in mind.

File Your FAFSA

You must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to receive any type of federal student aid. It’s important to note that this information is also used by universities to determine your eligibility for institutional aid, including scholarships, grants, and loans. Not all financial aid is need-based and the FAFSA may be required by your school for consideration of different types of aid.

Pay Attention To Deadlines

You may receive financial aid from different sources – your school, state, and the federal government, private scholarships, and more. In order to be considered, you must submit your application before their specific deadlines. To find out what state and federal deadlines are, click here. For information on private financial aid opportunities, contact your school’s guidance counselor. Remember to apply before the first deadline to be considered at all three levels.

Stay In Touch With Your School 

Universities likely have some leeway when awarding financial aid. Contact them if your circumstances have changed since you filed your FAFSA. The loss of a parent, a job loss, or similar situations are sometimes considered special circumstances. Your application can be reviewed again and you may receive additional financial aid as a result. The motto to remember with financial aid? It doesn’t hurt to try. 

Look For Aid Elsewhere

Explore your options if your financial aid package changes from one year to the next, or if it doesn’t cover the cost of attendance to begin with. Scholarships are a great opportunity to take advantage of free funds because there are so many available. Do some research on scholarship search engines. Keep in mind that your university, college, or department may also award scholarships.

Plan Ahead

Since some institutional aid is awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis, you want to apply as soon as possible. This will help you secure the best financial aid package possible while funds are plentiful. Applications for the 2021-2022 school year, for example, can be submitted as early as October 1, 2021. If you haven’t already, begin applying as soon as the FAFSA opens.