Financial aid programs are helpful to incoming college students who want to save money while they are studying. One may apply for scholarship grants, work-study programs, or loans.
- Securing IDs The first thing that you have to do is to secure a personal identification number (PIN) for you and your parent. You must each have your own PIN so that you will be identified once you sign up for a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You can also use you PIN when sending recommendation letters and promissory notes. Be sure that all relevant details about you, such as your name, your birth date, and your Social Security Number, are accurate. You must give your complete legal name. Using nicknames or aliases will only cause delays and so much hassle. File your FAFSA along with your parent's signature and your federal tax information.
- Application There are FAFSA worksheets online that you can print out and fill in the necessary information, including those about your finances and academic plans. Likewise, include the university's code and the school year you are applying for. Encode your and your parents' personal identification numbers and then submit your application. Remember to reserve a copy for your personal reference. Check your email from time to time as a Student Aid report might be sent to you. Here you will be sent a couple of indicators that will determine if you are eligible for the financial aid. Your application for financial aid will be reviewed. If it takes so much time for your application to be verified, then it is suggested that you contact the university for follow-up.
- Notifications Once you have been awarded with the aid, you will receive notifications online. In this procedure you may accept, decline, or reduce the amount of financial aid. The amount actually depends on the loan you applied for. If you are borrowing money for the first time, you may be sent an email notification, giving you access to the university's website, so that you can sign your promissory note.
- Disbursement Don't forget to inquire about the school's disbursement policy. Financial aid is usually divided into half, and are disbursed before the start of each term. Check if the aid was properly sent to your account, and if you still have pending tuition fees. Remember, too, that a financial aid is awarded every year, so you have to reapply after the end of the last term.
While you are still scouting for universities that give grants, keep tabs with the procedures and possible deadlines. Most colleges have websites so check the dates available for you to file your application. Some financial aids are given on a first-come, first-served basis so plan ahead and apply early. Once the university has acknowledged your application, respond immediately. They may cancel or forfeit your application if it reaches a number of days without confirmation. And when you borrow money, do so wisely. Use it solely for necessary educational expenses. After all, you wouldn't want to be rooted in debt, would you? Be a responsible student and get that financial aid you deserve.