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Financial Aid Tips

Besides doing your research and filling out a scholarship search profile on Scholarships.com, there are a number of things you can do make your financial aid application stand out. We have organized useful financial aid tips to help navigate the world of federal aid and scholarship applications so you can maximize your financial aid package. Outside of our financial aid tips, we have information on every step of the financial aid process, including scholarships, grants and student loans, so browse through the site to get your financial aid questions answered.

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Prepare for the Best

There are millions of dollars in scholarships being awarded annually, despite economic crises. If you spend as much time seeking financial aid as applying to colleges you will have a good chance at lowering student loan debt. Remember to think local. Local scholarships are often less competitive and look at criteria beyond standardized test scores and GPAs. Make yourself a desirable candidate for scholarships by submitting professional applications that will impress judges. The more effort you put into the process, the greater the rewards you will receive.

Easy Ways to improve your Chances

Mistakes on your scholarship or financial aid application could hurt your chances winning. Even worse, you could disqualify entirely from an awards contest. Scholarships and grants are very competitive, so make a list for yourself and check it twice before submitting your application. Have someone else edit your essays, as spelling and grammar errors can be hard to miss. Keep a file for your applications so you don’t misplace any of the required paperwork. Make sure you’re using a reputable site such as Scholarships.com to conduct your free scholarship searches. If you have to pay for an application, or to search for scholarships, it is a scam. The best financial aid tips are the simple ones: follow directions and meet your deadlines.

Fill out your FAFSA carefully. An error on your FAFSA could delay the application process several weeks. If you have any questions, contact the Federal Student Aid Information center through the FAFSA website. Your intended college’s financial aid office will also be glad to help you. Most importantly, do not miss any deadlines. Apply as early as possible to have an idea of the funding you will receive, that way you have time to apply for additional funding. The FAFSA is available each year starting Jan. 1.

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Latest College & Financial Aid News

More Schools Adopting Test-Optional Merit Aid

March 2, 2021

by Izzy Hall

Back in September, a few colleges who had already adopted a test-optional policy for the current admissions cycle announced that they would be awarding merit scholarships without the need for applicants to submit test scores. Since then, more and more colleges and universities have quietly adopted test-optional merit aid policies to complement their currently test-optional admissions. [...]

Avoid Student Debt at Colleges with No Student Loans

February 25, 2021

by Izzy Hall

Here at Scholarships.com, we connect students with scholarships that can help alleviate the amount of student loans they need to take out to pay for college. But there are colleges out there that offer students such generous financial aid packages that they need to take out very little in loans if at all. These “no student loans” colleges replace student loans in financial aid packages with additional scholarships and grants to help fund a student’s tuition. Students accepted into these schools will pay much less than the cost of tuition and thus will not be as burdened with student debt. [...]

Test-Optional Policies Drive Increase in College Applications

February 23, 2021

by Izzy Hall

Well-known and selective colleges such as the University of Virginia, Harvard and the University of California at Berkeley are seeing a spike in college applications due to their adoption of test-optional admissions for the 2021 admissions cycle. These record increases have led some schools to announce an extension of test-optional admissions into future years. [...]

Last Reviewed: March 2021