Am I eligible for financial aid for college? That is a question that a lot of high school graduates – not to mention people who have skipped on the opportunity for college after graduation and are now thinking of taking it on – are likely to have in mind. The simple reason behind that fact is that college education can be frightfully expensive, with the costs possibly running to thousands of dollars every year. Not everyone has that kind of money to shell out for four years or so in college. Statistics have even gone to show that only a third of high school graduates get to pursue an undergrad degree on their own money, without the help of financial aid.
Getting financial aid is, nonetheless, a very tricky process. It is also a race where the awarding of scholarships and grants is given on a first-come, first-served basis. Thankfully, it is easy to find out if one is eligible for financial aid or not. It is only a matter of filling out a few forms, doing a few computations, and implementing a few strategies to make sure that one truly qualifies for the scholarship that they need.
Your Income and Your Eligibility for Financial Aid
Many incoming college students often do not bother to check if they are eligible for financial aid because they do not think they would be qualified. It is either because they have money of their own or because their parents are enjoying good income every year. Do you think this way? What you may not know is that no matter how much you or your parents make in a year, you can still qualify for financial aid. You only need to use a few strategies to make that possible.
Before you launch into these strategies, you need to determine if you will spend for your college education on your own or if your parents will help you. Expected family contribution matters a lot in your Education Loan Eligibility for financial aid. Federal laws stipulate that you contribute 35% of your money to your college education while your parents are only required to chip in 5%. It would be best to get your parents’ help on this if you can.
The first thing you need to do is to spend your own money so the federal government or any scholarship-endowing organization will not have to consider your own income to figure out if you are qualified for financial aid or not. You do not have to waste your money. You can invest it on things you will need for your schooling, such as furnishings for a new apartment or your dorm, or a new computer. If you don’t feel the need to spend it, you can funnel your money to an account in your parents’ name.
If your parents are going to help you qualify for financial aid, they will have to get rid of some of their assets as well at least two years before you start applying for any need-based scholarships or grants. The only assets the federal government and other endowing bodies will overlook are funds directly related to your parents’ primary home and funds allocated towards their retirement. This will also be the perfect time for them to liquidate assets such as stock options and non-primary real estate and pour the money into an annuity or retirement fund. They can also use the money to pay off debt or buy a new residence. However way they dispose of the money, the important thing is that the organizations to which you will be applying for financial aid would see that neither you nor your parents have a lot of disposable income for your college education.
Get Your Paperwork in Order
Once you have gotten matters regarding money out of the way of a possible scholarship endowment, you need to get your paperwork in order. Remember that need-based grants are given on a first-come, first-served basis. If you get slow about it, you won’t get the money you need. Always keep an eye on the deadlines.
Speaking of paperwork, you should make sure that you include in your tasks the paperwork for your Pell Grant and your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). These two are often prerequisites for scholarships, especially those granted by the federal government. You need to get these in order fast.
The long and short of it is that no matter how big your family’s income is, you can always try and pursue a need-based financial aid. It is your right to go for it if you really need it. You will never know if the answer to the question “Am I eligible for financial aid for college?” is yes if you do not even check it out.
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