Financial Aid: Five Tips for Getting Cash for College

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Posted on 02/18/2014

Prepare for sticker shock. Paying for four years at a top college or university will now cost you more than $200,000. For many families it's an impossible dream without the help of financial aid. It's time to tackle the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, if you want the best chance at getting cash for college.

File Early
If you want the best shot at receiving financial aid, file early. Like now. According to Time, seven states (Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont and Washington) hand out money on a first-come, first-served basis. There's not enough money to go around, so getting your name in first could pay off big time.


Get Free Help with FAFSA
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid can be confusing and overwhelming, but it's also a necessity for having a shot at receiving many forms of financial aid, scholarships or school assistance. Some people and firms make money off of confused co-eds looking for help with the FAFSA process, but there are many free FAFSA assistance events and programs. Visit Mappingyourfuture.org to access a brand new state-by-state list of free FAFSA events.


Be Thorough
You're going to need to answer a lot of questions when filing for financial aid, but keep in mind you're asking for a pretty large chunk of change. You'll need to have lots of information handy including last year's income tax return, bank statements and property records.


Pay Attention to Deadlines
When it comes to applying for financial aid or scholarships, deadlines are a definite. Pay attention to those deadlines because they are all different. There are federal and state deadlines, plus some colleges may also have their own deadlines for applying for financial assistance. To find out your FAFSA deadline visit fafsa.ed.gov, select your state of legal residence and the school for which you are applying for student aid.


Apply Annually
Eligibility is determined by many factors. And those factors may change over the course of a year. So just because you don't qualify for financial aid this year doesn't mean you won't be eligible in the future.


By Alison Storm


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