The cost of college keeps rising each year. It is pretty common to see many students and families struggle to pay for college expenses. Hence, they are relying more on external sources and seeking financial aids however they can. There are two categories of financial aids you can earn. They are merit-based and need-based. Merit-based aids on academic and talent achievements are distributed by universities and colleges. Meanwhile need-based aids are mostly given by the federal government and colleges. They are in the forms of grants, scholarships, work-study, or loans. 

Financial aids for college students

FAFSA or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid determines the level of financial need of students. There are also private scholarships which typically require separate or additional applications. Going into college can be costly and figuring out how to pay it can be daunting. And here are some useful tips to help you earn financial aids to pay your college expenses:

Avoid making assumption

It is pretty common that students make assumption on who are and are not going to receive the financial aid. However, this is something you need to avoid. In fact, there is likely a chance that you are eligible to receive the financial aid. Just because your friend with the same amount of money as you didn’t qualify, doesn’t mean you won’t qualify as well. 

Do not look at the price tag

Usually GPA, household finances, test scores, and extracurricular are something that asked to the students to determine the amount of grants and scholarships to be awarded to the students. The number of financial aids are subtracted from the full cost of attendance to predict what a family may pay. 

Search for scholarship yourself

It is highly recommended for students to find scholarships by their own instead of paying third parties to do it for them. It is best to do it a year before the funds are needed. Paying for someone to do it for you is highly against because you would have to give out your personal information such as your social security number to strangers. Instead, you can use free resources to go scholarships hunting yourself. 

Pay attention to deadlines

State and college deadlines can come sooner than you expected. The FAFSA usually opens every October 1.Meanwhile, federal’s deadline to apply is not until June 30 of the following year. Avoid making the mistake of missing the deadline. In fact, you can submit your application early since financial aids are often awarded to those who come first. Hence, time does matter in helping you earn financial aids for college. 

Check your email regularly

After completing your FAFSA application, make sure to keep checking your email. At least check it once a day so you get to know early if there is something you need to submit or provide as requested by a Student Aid Report. You can also find more information about specific financial aids on many colleges’ websites, or call the financial aid office directly.

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