While you prepare for college, it’s a good idea to be in touch with your school’s financial aid office. They provide a wealth of information, and can be extremely helpful as you plan financially for your education.
If you’re not sure what to ask when you meet with your aid office, here are three great ideas that can lead to a bigger conversation:
FAFSA – The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is your first step in applying for federal and most state financial aid programs. After you’ve submitted your FAFSA and received your award offer, ask what your financial aid will cover and make sure you have a plan beyond that. If you need extra funds after your financial aid has been applied, it would definitely be worth talking to a representative at your college or career technology center to see what they recommend. There may be more scholarships you’re unaware of or eligibility for additional forms of aid. Take advantage of any available options to put yourself in the best position going forward.
Work Study – Schools will have lots of great opportunities for you to earn both money and experience through their Federal Work Study program. This aid program provides funds for part-time employment to help needy students finance the costs of postsecondary education. This is a great way to make school more affordable and gain experience in a career field you may choose to pursue after graduation.
Life Changes – College is a yearslong commitment and things in your life, and in the life of your family, will probably change. Whether you or your parents get a new job, lose a job, get married or divorced, or a number of other life-changing events, your finances may be altered considerably, causing a change in your financial aid eligibility over the course of your college career. Have a conversation with your aid officer on how those changes could affect your aid, and what other opportunities may be available should you find yourself in a challenging situation.
Visit with your parents, guardians, spouse or significant other to determine the best questions to ask when you visit with your financial aid counselor. The financial aid office at your school of choice is always willing to help.
For more information, or ideas for saving and earning money for school, check out our publication Are You Looking for Money? We have lots of great resources at UCanGo2.org, so please get in touch with us with any questions!