You’re a senior this year and just received your award letter for financial aid for your first semester of college. Amidst all the terms and figures, there are a few things you need to consider when looking at financial aid. Below are five tips that will be helpful as you begin your search for financial aid.
1. Your Financial Aid Package is Negotiable
Don’t feel like you are stuck with the financial aid package that the school offers you. For example, if you are a first year student trying to figure out where to go to college, use your College A financial aid letter to negotiate a better deal at a different college. Sometimes, schools will match offers from another school if they have funds. Additionally, if you have special circumstances like a lot of medical bills your family has to pay, sit down and speak to your financial aid counselor to see if they can help.
2. Colleges Will Invest In You
The longer you attend your college, the better the chances are that the school increases your financial aid package. If you stay at the school for two or three years, they are more willing to invest money in you because you are more likely to stay versus an incoming student the first year who might transfer out.
3. Shopping Around For Loans With Low Interest Rates
You should always shop around for loans. Just because you receive a letter from the financial aid office showing you can get a loan from Company A does not mean you can’t go out on your own and get a better deal at Company B. Shop around at local banks, lenders and credit unions to get the lowest and best interest rate possible. It could save you thousands of dollars. LowVARates.com gives away college scholarships to military students seeking financial assistance. If you are a military student, go to www.lowvarates.com and check out the procedures to apply.
4. Being Polite and Respectful Goes a Long Way
Always stay on good terms with the staff in the financial aid office. The financial aid office is always busy, and they work very hard at a hard job. Yelling at staff members won’t help you at all. Finance talks are tough for everyone, so be polite and respectful of the people who are trying to keep you in school.
5. Use the Financial Aid Office For Emergencies
Always take advantage of your financial aid office in case of emergencies. If you are a few hundred dollars short for rent or if you have an emergency and have to fly home but don’t have money, check with your financial aid office. Some schools keep funds available for students who have emergency circumstances. If they don’t, they can probably point you in the right direction so that the emergency won’t cause you to withdraw from school.
By following some of the above tips, you can make your decisions about financial aid a lot easier and make your parents happy.