Affordable Education for Everyone

Piggy Bank with Blackboard

Choosing Financial Aid

After getting accepted into the college of your choice, you must begin to plan how you will pay for your courses and other course materials. Fortunately, many post-secondary educational institutions offer some form of financial aid to their students. The amount of money awarded to the student may either be a loan that needs to be repaid with a specified rate of interest or a grant where the amount awarded to the individual does not need to be repaid upon completion of the studies. Financial aid is commonly provided by the educational institution or a private company. However, when applying to schools it is important to keep in mind that private institutions are more likely to offer attractive student grants.

Shop Around

When applying for financial aid, it is generally a good idea to shop around to see what your options are. This should also be done if you have already been approved for a certain loan from your institution or a private company. This is important because it will allow you the opportunity to compare the different rates that are being offered. A lower-rate loan could save you a significant amount down the road. In addition, different lenders may have different repayment options. For example, certain lenders may require you to repay your loan immediately after graduation. It is usually a good idea to take out a loan that gives you a couple of months for a grace period since immediate employment upon graduation is never guaranteed.

Negotiate

In most cases, your financial aid amount will be negotiable. For example, if you have been accepted to two different colleges, you can use your financial aid offer from the first college to negotiate either a better rate or more money from the second college. The amount of money granted to a student is usually determined using a formula. This means that it does not consider individual circumstances when calculating the student aid total. Therefore, if you have certain unique circumstances that you feel should be considered when determining your eligible amount, such as high medical expenses or a disability, it is always a good idea to make an appointment with a financial aid counselor to see if they can recalculate your total based on the additional information.

Couple in a Financial Consultation

Stay On Good Terms

This point may seem less obvious than the preceding points, however it is equally as important. The reason for this is that financial aid officers have a difficult job trying to administer and monitor loans sent out to the students at the institution. In most cases, this could mean that they are working on the finances of thousands of different students. Remaining on good terms could also mean that they will be willing to work a little bit harder to resolve any issues that you may face regarding financial aid. Discussing finances can be a great source of stress for many individuals, however it is important to remember that the staff at the financial aid office is working with you in order to ensure that you successfully complete your education.

Emergency Backup

Before you begin attending a post-secondary institution, it is important to do your research and learn what type of emergency backup funds they offer. Many institutions will have money put aside in case a student faces an emergency situation while attending the institution and needs money immediately. An example of this could be a family emergency that requires the student to fly home. It is better to do this research ahead of time rather than be left scrambling in the unfortunate case where you find yourself in an emergency situation. If your school does not offer emergency funds, they may still be able to point you in a direction where you can withdraw additional money without having to drop out of the program.