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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.

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.

Latest College & Financial Aid News

Harvard Revokes Parkland Shooting Suvivor's Admissions Offer

June 18, 2019

by Susan Dutca-Lovell

Harvard revoked more admissions offers - this time involving 10 students who participated in a Facebook group called "Harvard memes for horny bourgeois teens." Jokes about abusing children and the Holocaust and insulting comments about different racial and ethnic groups were found in the group, according to Inside Higher Ed.

Earlier this month, Harvard also rescinded an admission offer to Kyle Kashuv who, when he was 16 years old, used inflammatory and racist language, including the N-word, right before the Parkland shooting at his school, Stoneman Douglas High School. The shootings have since "changed him and made him more mature," he claims. Kashuv became famous for his conservatism, pro-gun and pro-Trump activism which he believes, represent a different view on how to prevent future, like tragedies.

In a recent Twitter post, he apologized for his past comments and stated that, "We were 16-year-olds making idiotic comments, using callous and inflammatory language in an effort to be as extreme and shocking as possible...I'm embarrassed by it, but I want to be clear that the comments I made are not indicative of who I am or who I've become in the years since." Shortly thereafter, Harvard looked into his case and eventually revoked his admissions offer. Though university personnel appreciate his "candor and expressions of regret," Harvard "takes seriously" the "qualities of maturity" and of "character" of the students it admits. Despite appealing the revocation, Kashuv was turned down. In his defense, Kashuv argues that, "throughout its history, Harvard's faculty has included slave owners, segregationists, bigots and anti-Semites. If Harvard is suggesting that growth isn't possible and that our past defines our future, then Harvard is an inherently racist institution. But I don't believe that. I believe that institutions and people can grow. I've said that repeatedly." In your opinion, should Kashuv have had his admissions offer revoked based on something he did when he was 16? Why or why not? [...]

Wiccan Prof Sues Catholic University Over Alleged Discrimination

June 11, 2019

by Susan Dutca-Lovell

A Wiccan Professor at St. Bonaventure sued the university and her alma mater for discrimination, alleging that she was not allowed to advance in her career because she is a woman and a witch. The reported discrimination began around Halloween in 2011, after she was asked to conduct an interview about her Wiccan beliefs with the university's student TV station, SBU-TV. [...]

LGBTQ Scholarships for Pride Month

June 6, 2019

by Susan Dutca-Lovell

In honor of LGBTQ Pride Month this June, Scholarships.com is recognizing the success of, and providing financial aid resources to the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, and queer community and its allies through featured LGBTQ scholarships. These colorful LGBTQ scholarships are not only intended for those who identify as LBTQ or are questioning, but are available to LGBTQ parents and allies, as well. Below is a preview of LGBTQ scholarships that were created to provide economic mobility and equality for LGBTQ students and allies who may face unique challenges on their educational journeys. For even more LGBTQ scholarships, Parent LGBTQ scholarships or LGBTQ Ally scholarships, visit here. [...]

Last Reviewed: June 2019