The Real Deal on Financial Aid for College

Let’s face it — very few things in life are free. OK, you have information portals like us who strive to give you the best information possible. But we can’t give you a college degree that will in turn help you get that first job and break through to your career. Trust us — we would if we could. Still, you’ll have to settle for great tutoring and education tips instead which could help you make better decisions about college in general.

One of the biggest struggles for anyone trying to go to school is trying to pay for it. There are a lot of options, but the reality is that not every option is equally appealing. Of course, there are always credit cards, but this is not a good option at all. First and foremost, the interest rate on a credit card is very high, and you would end up spending a lot more than your books and expenses are actually worth in the long urn. The better way is to sit down and really take a hard look at the financial aid that you’re eligible for.

In a perfect world, everyone would be eligible for the same amount of financial aid, to the point where everyone would be able to go to school. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way in real life. Merit based aid is probably the best form of aid there is, since it usually involves monies that you do not have to pay back. Again, let’s go over that again: this is money that you do not have to pay back. What could be better than that, really?

In order to qualify for as much aid as possible, you have to apply as soon as possible. You do not want to wait until the last minute to apply for financial aid. The people that apply first usually get their first pick of just about any and every type of aid available at their school, which can add up in the long run. Something as important as your schooling needs to be handled right away, no procrastination required. You don’t want to end up going without the aid you needed simply because you waited till the last minute.

Don’t overlook low cost loans for school or payday loans, either. Yes, free is better than pay, but you have to make sure that you can actually attend school either way. Government loans are a better deal than private loans, and they’re much easier to have placed into forbearance instead of letting them fall into default. Make sure that if you go with a private loan to cover what the government limits won’t cover that you shop around for the best interest rate. If you need to, don’t be afraid to use a co-signer to get an even better set of terms for your loan. You will be paying off those student loans for a long time to come, so it never hurts to do your homework whenever you can.

If you don’t like the financial aid package that your college is offering, you don’t have to give up hope. If you’re a first time student and/or incoming freshman, you have a lot more options than you might realize.

Keep in mind that colleges aren’t providing an education out of the goodness of their own hearts. It’s all about money and numbers — two things that impact a college on numerous levels. If their enrollment numbers start dropping, their overall endowments and grants will decrease as well. You have to make sure that you will be able to negotiate on solid ground, and that means knowing exactly what you’re up against.

Applying for multiple colleges at once definitely puts you in the greatest negotiation seat possible. You should make any college compete for you, since you will always have options. If you have your heart set on a school and you just can’t seem to get the money, it’s up to you to appeal to the financial aid administrator. Make sure that you don’t just walk into their office — keep a paper trail that indicates exactly what you’re looking for, as well as their comments towards you. This one little tip can save you a lot of headaches and heartaches in the long run.

Now, you might be afraid to take it to that level, but let’s change the perspective for a moment. There is no one in the world that will fight for your education more than you. There is also no one in the world that wants an education for you, more than you. In other words, you have every right in the world to demand a good solid education, and get what you paid for.

In turn, this also means that if you don’t negotiate hard on your behalf, you will end up having to go either without an education, or a dramatically diminished one. You have every right to a great education and a great life, so you should fight for the things that you want.

Now, that doesn’t mean that you have to be unpleasant or rude. You might reach some resistance, but you can overcome that simply by being persistent. You’ll find that there are actually quite a few measures that can be taken to keep someone at a college that actually wants to be there. Don’t forget to point out that they are not the only option on the table, and see if you can get your financial aid package matched by the school that you really do want to attend.

Overall, reading these tips is not enough — if you really want to make it through school, it’s important to take these tips in put them into action today!