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Financial Aid Tips

Besides doing your research and filling out a free scholarship search profile on Scholarships.com, there are a number of things you can do to not only make sure your financial aid applications stand out, but to land the most free money you can to finance your college career. We have organized useful financial aid tips to help navigate the world of federal aid and scholarship applications and to help you maximize your financial aid package. Outside of our financial aid tips, we also have a wealth of information on every step of the financial aid process, including scholarships, grants and student loans, so browse through the site to get most, if not all, of your financial aid questions answered.

Prepare for the Best

You’re not going to receive any funding if you don’t apply for it, so go in with a positive attitude and apply for awards early and often. Financial aid is available, with millions of dollars in scholarships being awarded annually despite any economic crises. If you do your research and spend as much time as you did applying to colleges as seeking out free financial aid, you have a good chance of lowering potential student loan debt load. Look beyond the big, well-known scholarships and 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 and you should notice that the more effort you put into the process, the greater the rewards you'll reap.

Easy Ways to improve your Chances

The smallest mistake on your scholarship or financial aid application could hurt your chances for landing free mone. 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 look at any of your essays, as spelling and grammar errors can be hard to miss. Keep a file on everything you’re applying for so that you don’t miss any elements of an application. Make sure you’re using a reputable site such as Scholarships.com to conduct your free scholarship searches. If you have to pay to apply for an award or look for scholarships, chances are you’re being scammed. The best financial aid tips are the simple ones: follow directions and meet your deadlines.

When filling out your FAFSA do so with a careful eye. One error could delay the application process, and if you’re mailing it rather than filling out an online form, it could take another several weeks for your FAFSA – and potential financial aid package – to process. If you’re confused or concerned about something on the application, ask someone about it who has been through the process before or 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, as their goal is working on getting you to attend their school at the lowest cost possible to you. Most importantly, don’t miss the deadline, and apply early if you can so you have a better idea of the kind of funding package you’ll be receiving to prepare for applying for additional funding. The FAFSA is available each year starting Jan. 1.

Last Edited: August 2015

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