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College financial aid: stacking the odds in your favor

If you plan to go to college, probably one of your biggest concerns is how you are going to pay for it. As you know, debt is a big problem for college students these days, especially those who attend private institutions where personal debt can easily climb to over $ 100,000. Due to the debt problem, financial aid for college is of great concern to those involved, as over the course of four years a lot of money is spent with very little income. College financial aid offices, however, can sometimes help students. However, if you are already in college, you are probably already a bit behind.

Believe it or not, one of the best financial aid strategies for college, especially if you attend a private college, is to get as many scholarships as possible. The reason, of course, is that scholarships are more attractive than loans, as it is free money that never has to be paid back.

What is need-based financial aid?

Most colleges offer financial aid based on need and merit. Need-based assistance is generally based on the amount of income your parents have, including the number of siblings, as your parents are expected to help pay for your education and the education of your siblings. Even if your parents don’t help you pay for your education, the system assumes that they do.

What is merit-based financial aid?

Merit-based financial aid is based on your grades and high school activities. Private colleges are more likely to award large, merit-based scholarships than public colleges, as private schools generally have donors who donate scholarships on their own behalf or contribute to a particular scholarship fund. These institutional scholarships can cover up to at least half of the tuition fees each year.

Don’t be afraid to seek college financial aid in the form of scholarships in unexpected places. Look in your hometown for various community organizations that offer scholarships, such as the Knights of Columbus or the Humane Society. Although community organizations may not be able to contribute the thousands needed for your scholarship, it all helps, especially when you don’t have to be reimbursed.

Is there federal aid for college financial aid?

Finally, if your scholarships and savings aren’t enough to cover your college expenses, you should probably apply for a student loan. First, complete the Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) to verify the federal loans you qualify for. Someone from your college’s financial aid office will be able to advise you which loans are best suited to your personal circumstances and when to begin repaying them. Remember, while the prospect of paying for college can be scary, it is still one of the best investments you will ever make.

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