People always ask me if they should apply for financial aid when sending their children to school. My answer is always a resounding YES!!!
Some people will argue and say “But we earn too much money! Our family won’t get any aid.” That may be true. Maybe your family does earn “too much” money and your family will not qualify for Need based aid. But what about Merit based aid???
Some schools, not every school, require families to have financial aid forms on file so that Merit aid scholarships may be distributed to incoming freshman based solely on... Merit. So while it may be an additional task to complete, filing those financial aid forms is important so as not to lose out on the possibility of receiving what can amount to significant merit aid.
Another benefit of completing FAFSA, is that it can act like insurance. How? Just suppose, a member of your family loses a job, becomes ill, gets divorced, etc. With FAFSA already on file with your child’s chosen academic institution, parents can request that the financial aid office review the change during the school year as opposed to automatically having to wait to the next filing period.
Lastly, another benefit of filing financial aid forms, is that your child is now eligible for work/study programs and federal loans. During the freshman and sophomore years, students can take unsubsidized loans for up to $5,500 per year, in junior year, students can take loans up to $6,500 per year and in senior year, students can take loans up to $7,500 per year. (The number increases substantially for students applying to graduate school.) Work/study, which has many benefits beyond monetary, is also only available by completing FAFSA.
Don’t leave money “on the table”. It is important to explore all avenues for college savings! Make sure to apply for Financial Aid. Next, learn When Is It Best To Find Merit Scholarships here.
This article was written by Vicki Vollweiler of College Financial Prep. If you need help with Financial Aid, Loans, Appeals and divorce situations, Vicki may be contacted by email at CollegeFinancialPrep@gmail.com or by phone 516-225-5224.
Vicki Vollweiler is a College Financial Aid Specialist (and a Certified Divorce Coach) helping people save money on the costs of college. She has two children, one in college and one in middle school. She loves helping people, both adults and teens, save money on college costs and make smart financial decisions. Vicki helps students and their families find their ideal university that will have the perfect academic, social and financial fit.