Financial aid has become indispensable for students because of the rising cost of education. When you are applying for loans, time is money. You have to be absolutely ready and plan well in advance about how you will go by it.
Preparations before the academic year begins
- Get college applications and information about financial aid. All these communications and brochures should be stored and organized logically in a separate file. You can put it in a folder on your computer.
- Maintain a calendar detailing the admission and loan details.
- Find out about scholarship-the various types, whether you qualify and how much you can expect to receive.
- Using the financial aid calculators, find out whether you qualify for federal or non federal student loans.
- Next, speak to your counselor about applications for college and loans for the same.
- If you are an early bird and need to apply for your loan immediately, then can create certain estimates of income figures and fill up the supplemental aid application forms.
- If you check out the website or read the brochures of your college, you can find out whether they have institutional scholarship programs.
- There are certain colleges that ask for early submission of application forms and you have to check out for the same.
- Your college counselor will be able to guide you about state and local scholarship. Submit the required forms to all these various programs.
- The CSS/ Financial Aid PROFILE online are available from the first day of October itself if you eager to take early action to procure financial aid.
- Various deadlines for scholarship fall in this month. Apply for them in time.
- The Department of Education PIN number serves as an electronic signature for FAFSA on the Internet. Both, your parents and you should apply and get this PIN number. This will significantly reduce the processing time of your application.
- When it comes to PROFILE, you don’t have to wait till the first of January to submit it. So, you can go to PROFILE online to learn how to apply and submit the application form.
- Always send out your applications within the deadlines.
- Don’t forget to get the Free Application for Federal student Aid (FAFSA) before the winter vacation starts.
- It is always better to submit the FAFSA application online. But, before doing so, visit the website and be familiar with the content and procedures.
- Find out which are the documents necessary to complete the application form and gather them all.
- If you are an early bird, then you might have received a response by now. In such a case, read the letter carefully and understand the terms and conditions. If they want you to send an acceptance letter, then send one immediately. If you have any doubts, then contact the loan office immediately.
- The income and asset figures from your tax return are necessary when you submit your FAFSA application form.
- Start filling out the CSS/ Financial Aid PROFILE right now itself. Only then, you can meet the February priestly deadlines.
- After January 1st, immediately sign and submit the application for FAFSA.
- Along with all this, also submit all the individual applications for institutional financial aid.
- February is labeled as the Financial Aid Awareness Month. This entire month is filled with lots of activities by schools and colleges to create awareness. Participate in these activities and use this opportunity to learn more about financial aid.
- Priority deadlines for loans fall in February and make sure yours reaches in time.
- The student Aid Report (SAR) will arrive within some two to four weeks. If not, you can call FAFSA in the toll free number (800) 4-FED-AID. If you find there are any errors in the SAR, then you should make the corrections and mail it back immediately.
- As a routine procedure, your FAFSA may be verified. Submit all the necessary documents for the verification.
- If you have given an email address, then you will receive an electronic a version of the SAR.
- Summer jobs and internships are the best way to earn some extra money. March is the best time to start looking out for the same.
- You receive your loan award letters this month and it is time to take decisions relating to the same.
- If you need to send acceptance letters, do the same.
- Read the award letters carefully and understand all the terms and conditions properly.
- Meet the deadlines for acceptance of the awards.
- If your full need has not been met or you need some more help, appeal for more aid.
- Make your final decision relating to admission.
- Send out the deposit check to your preferred college before the end of this month. May 1st is the last deadline in most colleges.
- Study seriously for the upcoming AP Exams. If you score high on this, you can get college credit and save a lot of money.
- Do well in your AP Exams and send the score to your desired college.
- Take parents loans, etc. to meet the remaining gap.
- If you have also applied for student loans, then you may have to fill up the Master Promissory Note (MPN). Only after this you can receive the Stafford Loan funds.
The summer before college
- Summer has arrived and it is sure to bring the semester bill in mail. Make the payment immediately.
- Take up some summer jobs and this will cover your first year college expenses.
- It would be good if you could open a bank account near your college. Speak to your parents about this.
- If you need to travel, make the plans early and this will save you lots of money.
- Plan for your food and boarding at college.
Don’t forget to enjoy your summer vacation among all this hassle. This is only a rough calendar and you might have to make changes depending on your location and your college.