Planning in advance greatly helps you achieve two things: get the most out of your own resources and escalate the chances of acquiring the proper type of college financial aid. To facilitate planning, you should be aware that financial aid comes in two forms. The first is called gift aid, which you don't pay back. This involves scholarships and grants. The second type is self-help aid, which you pay back. College loans and work-study programs are included under this category.
The Two forms of Financial Aid
Sources of financial aid include the state government and federal government, colleges themselves, and privatecompanies such as banks. Financial aid could be awarded depending on certain achievement, either academically or athletically, but oftentimes it’s based on necessity. Rarely a college student is given a full scholarship with no strings attached.
Finding College Financial Aid from Private Organizations
Apart from seeking assistance from the college and government, you may inquire about financial aid from private sources:
- Employers or labor unions may have educational assistance programs. Verify if your child is eligible for grants, scholarships, or low-interest loans.
- Check on social organizations that you belong to (religious or civic), and see if they offer aid.
- If you are a military veteran, or a dependent of one, check up on related benefits from the Veterans Administration.
- Go to the public library and conduct your own search for scholarships that you may not knowexist but are within your locale. You don't need to pay for this service online; you’ll be billed unnecessarily for data you could find yourself with some extra effort.
Lower Your Share
Financial aid agents like to think they consider the big picture before they ask you to contribute. They will inspect such matters as parental income, family net assets, student earnings, and expenses. You'll be the one to paint the picture as bleakly as you can, within legal limits, of course. Make sure to call attention to unique situations, such as large medical bills, a disabled or retired, or siblings in college at the same time. This is the time to protect personal assets in matters such as IRAs. Join a salary reduction plan at work-like a 401(k) investment-to slash what the universities regard as available income. Get a tax planner long before you tackle the financial aid office to further reduce expected family contribution.
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