Would you like to maximize you’re financial aid? Who wouldn’t? Yet, every year students miss out on financial aid dollars for a variety of reasons. In 2004, the American Council on Education released a study on financial aid and found that half of the undergraduates that enrolled in college never filled out the financial aid form. This is tragic! The study concluded that, “850,000 of those students would have been eligible for a Pell Grant, the principal federal grant for low-income students.” That’s money that was simply left on the table, because a form wasn’t filled out. So to avoid leaving money on the table, be sure you’re following the “Five Golden Rules of Financial Aid.”
Rule #1 – You must thoroughly understand the college financial aid process. Once you know how it works, you can learn how to make it work in your favor.
As Sir Francis Bacon would say, “Knowledge is power.” Never could this be truer than with financial aid. Aid doesn’t necessarily go to those with the greatest need, but sadly to those who understand the rules of the game. Imagine playing a board game like Monopoly and not knowing the rules! You’d soon find yourself bankrupt and mortgaged out of the game.
So too with financial aid. Do you know what FAFSA is? Or how to lower your EFC? Do you understand the difference between a subsidized and a unsubsidized loan? How should you handle gift money from grandparents that want to help pay for college? Is a college 529 savings plan a good investment? What you don’t know about financial aid, can hurt you financially and potentially impact your future education.
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