Figuring out how to pay for your education does not have to be stressful or confusing. In fact, you can likely find financial aid to pay for the college of your choice—as long as you know where to look and what steps to take.
Here are 9 tips your family should keep in mind to simplify the process.
- Start saving now. Your savings may reduce the amount you borrow later, and some savings plans, like 529 plans and Covedell Education Savings Accounts, offer tax benefits.
- Expand your college search. Private colleges and universities—particularly out-of-state private institutions—value geographic diversity and often have more resources to devote to financial aid.
- Understand the system. Some universities encourage all applicants to file for financial aid, no matter the family's financial circumstances. It's worth your time to do this and to visit online tools at www.collegeboard.org or www.finaid.org.
- Complete the FAFSA. Regardless of your income, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after January 1. The FAFSA determines your eligibility for federal and state grants, work study and federal college loans.