Find Financial Aid
Tips and resources on how
to find financial aid for college costs.
Help Is Out There for Financing a College Education.
(ARA) - When
dreams of higher education collide with the means to
pay, the task of finding and applying for financial aid
makes some students and parents feel like they are lost
in the woods.
For many students, it can appear easier to do nothing at
all. A 2006 study by the American Council on Education
found that some 1.5 million kids who might have
qualified for federal higher education grants didn’t
even file financial aid forms.
But, as noted forest philosopher Winnie-the-Pooh once
said, “You can't always sit in your corner of the forest
and wait for people to come to you ... you have to go to
The first place to go, says Curt Trygstad, assistant
vice president of national programs at Scholarship
America, is the federal financial aid form, known as
FAFSA. Families can file the form online or by mail;
forms are available at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov.
Completing federal income tax forms makes filling out
the FAFSA form a lot easier, and makes it less likely
that you’ll have to provide more information later. A
benefit to early birds: the earlier you apply, the more
funds are available.
“Many financial aid sources are ‘first come, first
served’,” says Trygstad, who has helped students
navigate the financial aid system for nearly 20 years at
Scholarship America, a nonprofit organization that helps
communities and businesses raise and manage scholarship
Trygstad tells students and parents there is a great
deal of help out there, if you know where to look. He
offers these often overlooked tips:
Get to know your guidance counselor - Guidance
counselors receive a host of information about financial
aid programs, scholarships, and deadlines, as well as
information from schools. Some send out newsletters to
parents and students; others keep it for those who step
up and ask.
around your community - Ask at work, your place of
worship, the local Rotary Club, American Legion and
businesses. Do you have a ‘Dollars for Scholars’
chapter? Many scholarships are available based on where
you live, who you are and what you do.
Meet the school financial aid officer - Trygstad
points out that college and trade school financial aid
officers have some discretion on financial aid packages
and can adjust awards based on the information you
provide and extenuating circumstances.
Verify student loans - A June 2007
article points out that parents and students often feel
compelled to accept whatever student loan package is
offered by their school. Students should research
interest rates and payment schedules to get the best
deal -- and to know what they are getting into.
Meet with university department heads - For
students already in college, Trygstad advises they get
to know the department head of their major. “Most
students completely overlook this,” Trygstad says. “Many
departments have dedicated financial aid and scholarship
opportunities for deserving students. They also may have
job opportunities within the department.”
Make your money last - Have your eye on a new
car? New clothes? Nintendo Wii? “Financial aid programs
assume that you’ll live within your means.
Unfortunately, many students learn the hard way that
paying for what you need means waiting for what you
want,” Trygstad says.
Research online - The Student Resources section
is a good place to start your search online, Trygstad
says. Some of the best links for students are:
-- the gateway to obtaining federal financial
FinAid.org -- a
free source site for advice, scholarship searches and
other forms of financial aid.
-- free scholarship search.
The National Association of Financial Aid Administrators
Web site at
Click on “Parents and Students” for a brochure called
“Research, Remember, Repay” that educates parents and
students on borrowing student loans.
Sallie Mae -- the largest issuer of student loans; the
site includes a host of resources for students and
“The process isn’t easy -- and it’s toughest on those
who need the most help. But there are people and
organizations out there who value education and can help
kids succeed once they take that first step,” Trygstad
Connected : Solutions By Email
our free monthly newsletter packed with motivational
thoughts, articles, tips, products and resources to help
you make your family's life healthier and fun. We help
you handle today's tough issues like healthier lifestyles,
child development, education, self-appreciation and
Receive Monthly Newsletter
2002-03 Real Life Solutions & Aurelia Williams. All Rights Reserved.
Us | Contact Us |
| Opportunity |
| Links |
Policy || Web
Design by Lindsey Web
Design || Contact Us