Home > Financial Aid > Financial Aid Tips > Top 10 Financial Aid Tips

Top 10 Financial Aid Tips

Navigating financial aid is not easy, especially if you’re filing for the first time. Spend as much time applying for financial aid as you did applying to college. Budgeting does not end with your acceptance letter. Doing research on the financial aid process will reduce the stress of your first tuition payment.

ADVERTISEMENT

See our list of top 10 financial aid tips to prepare for the financial aid application process. Also research financial aid options at your intended college. Understanding the process will help you avoid common mistakes that affect your eligibility for funding. Talk to your financial aid administrator or browse through our site for more information about finding money for college.

  1. Prioritize your research. Start with the federal government, then explore the private sector for more financial aid programs. Visit websites like Scholarships.com to find m financial aid you qualify for.
  2. Contact each school you’re interested in and ask about their grant and scholarship opportunities. Do this as soon as you apply for admission. Applying for financial aid does not affect your chances of being accepted.
  3. Be prepared. File income tax returns early, because that information is needed for the FAFSA.
  4. Get to know your financial aid administrator, because they are able to answer any questions you have about the financial aid process, campus-based scholarships and grants, and reapplying for financial aid when that time comes.
  5. Submit the FAFSA because that is the only way you can qualify for federal aid. Remember, being rejected for federal aid does not make you ineligible for private awards. Also, be aware that some schools have their own financial aid applications.
  6. Apply early. Deadlines vary for each state and college, but the FAFSA can be sent any time after January 1st. Applying early will result in a better financial aid package, and leave time to apply for other scholarships and grants.
  7. Take advantage of pre-paid tuition discounts. Many colleges offer up to 10% off for early payment.
  8. If you receive a gift towards higher education, have the giver make payment in your name directly to the college to avoid gift tax liability.
  9. Investigate company-sponsored tuition plans. Some employers invest in their employees’ education and/or the children of employees’ education. Companies who offer funding for education often require recipients of the award to continue to work for the company after graduation, so do your research.
  10. Apply for financial aid each year you are in school. You must reapply to continue to get funding. File a renewal FAFSA to reapply for financial aid and save time. Ask your financial aid administrator for help, or find the information on the FAFSA website.

ADVERTISEMENT

Latest College & Financial Aid News

Top 5 December Scholarships & More

December 7, 2022

by Kevin Ladd

So many scholarships become available in December as the college application season winds down and students look for additional ways to finance their education. As the semester comes to an end and we look forward to winter break, there are going to be so many opportunities to help you take out the absolute minimum in student loans and find scholarships that not only help you pay for school, but also stand out as major accomplishments and indicators to colleges, grad schools and future employers. Applying for and winning scholarships tells all of the aforementioned that you are someone who is ambitious and proactive and always striving to better your situation. [...]

Metallica Foundation Offers Trades-Based Scholarships

November 30, 2022

by Kevin Ladd

Metallica, an extremely popular heavy metal band from the 80’s is recently enjoying new-found popularity and relevance with a new generation, thanks to the popular television show “Stranger Things”. Not only did they create the incredibly popular song “Enter Sandman” and “One”, they have also founded the Metallica Scholars Initiative. $100,000 in scholarships will be available for students studying in career programs through Metallica’s All Within My Hands Foundation (AWMH). [...]

Grants: the Other Way to Get Free College Money

November 22, 2022

by Zina Kumok

When it comes to financial aid, there are two types that tend to be seen as the most desirable: scholarships and grants. But while most people are familiar with scholarships, grants are less well understood. [...]

Last Reviewed: December 2022