Financial Aid Tips

Read these 7 Financial Aid Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Scholarship tips and hundreds of other topics.

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What is FAFSA?

FAFSA

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Student Financial Aid. This is a government sponsored site that allows you to fill out one form and be matched with financial aid options.

FAFSA can match you with scholarships, grants, and loans, depending on your qualifications. Always read carefully what is being offered to you and fill out the applications carefully and thoroughly.

   
What is the federal work study program?

Federal Work Study

The federal government offers a work study program. This program is applied for and awards are given out based on application time and financial need. Students enrolled in this program will work for federal minimum wage at jobs on and off campus.

There is a limit to the hours worked, as the income can not exceed the award amount. Some states, such as Virginia and Pennsylvania, also have work study programs that residents can apply for.

   
Can I work over the summer as part of my work study award?

Summer Work Study

"Would you like fries with that order?" Not the way you wanted to spend your summer. Afraid you won't be able to save money for next semester. Good News, many colleges offer summer work study programs.

Work study programs are very similar to those offered during the school year. Some are federally funded, others by the school. All have a set wage and maximum amount of money that can earned. A second job may be required as a supplement, but at least you'll know some of next years aid has been taken care of.

   
What is a financial aid package?

Fickle Financial Aid

A college financial aid package means many different things to many different schools. To some it is scholarship money available, to another it is a combination of scholarships, loans (that will need to be repaid) and work study or internship programs.

Always read thoroughly your financial aid package. Ask questions for clarification of anything you don't understand. Don't just look at the bottom line of the money offered. You may get a better offer from a different school with a more cost effective combination of loans, grants and scholarship opportunities.

   
I have so many loans, how can I pay them all back?

Consolidate after you Graduate

After graduation (it's a long way away now), you will have a diploma and a mountain of loan payments. What is a recent graduate to do? Loan consolidation is the way to go.

By consolidating loans, you can lower your interest rate and therefore lower monthly payments. In addition to a lower payment, there will be only one. One small loan payment is good for your credit.

   
What is work study?

Working for a Diploma

An alternative to taking out loans to help fill in the gaps in student financial aid is the work study program. Participants in these programs work doing various jobs for the university for a set wage that goes towards financial aid.

*Work study jobs are applied for and granted through the school financial aid office. In some cases, these jobs can also offer some spending money for your day to day college expenses.

   
What if scholarships don't cover everything.

Loans

Applied for every scholarship under the sun. Are you still short? Unless Aunt Marge has a stack of money hidden in her mattress, a Stafford Loan is the next step to funding an education.

By filling out a FAFSA form, the government will determine how much money you are eligible for based on financial need. If you still need funds, there are many Alternative Loan sources to fill in the blanks.

   
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