Let’s just admit it. Financial aid can be a beast. From filling out FAFSA to trying to win scholarships, high school seniors have their plates full.
I’ve had a very busy senior year, never mind trying to get money for college. Since I am going to an in-state school, I figured that college costs would be reduced and I wouldn’t have to worry too much about finding money.
Last week I received my financial award letter from my college. Needless to say there was not much of an award included. As of now, instead of graduating with the typical $6,000 in student debt that is the norm for my school, I will be graduating with well over $30,000 to pay back.
Of course there are other options that I will be looking into to help reduce this cost, but, in retrospect, I wish I had planned better and invested more time in finding money for college. Maybe you can learn from my mistakes.
Some things that you need to make sure you do now include:
1) Apply for student loans. The main Federal loans are called FAFSA. Most students who receive loans get FAFSA. If you haven’t already applied for FAFSA, you need to get on it asap.
2) Consider how you will pay back your student loans. Are you on the hook? Are your parents? Are you paying back some of it? Probably a good thing to figure out now.
3) Find some spending money. With all of the fun things that there are to do in college, you’re going to need some spending money- probably a lot of it. Get a summer job now and save up money for when you really need it this fall. Plus, if you work this summer and save up, you won’t have to work in the fall when you could otherwise be having fun.
Here’s a useful video with a lot of info in it. The beginning might be a little boring but keep watching there’s some good stuff in it.
(Photo by Phillip Taylor PT under Creative Commons Attribution Generic 2.0)