Financial Aid College Assistance for Students

Many students need financial aid college assistance, whether it is their first year at school or they are nearing graduation.

Every student who needs financial aid college assistance should start at one place - the Free Application for Federal Student Aid commonly called by its acronym, FAFSA. This is the one form that will determine a student's eligibility for need based programs that are sponsored by state and federal governments, including loans, grants and work-study.

After submitting the FAFSA students will be notified by mail which programs they qualify for. Priority deadlines for most colleges are late spring to early summer. However students can continue to apply until the end of the school year.

Most students qualify for Federal Student Loans (Stafford Loans) and the FAFSA results will reveal the amount students will be able to borrow. If this loan amount is not enough, students can inquire with the financial aid office about other loans.

Students can also request that the financial aid office review your application and family contribution analysis. Perhaps there are circumstances such as a job loss, unexpected family expense or another factor that will reduce the amount of money the family is expected to contribute. This could possibly help get more money for college in the form of loans and grants.

Other loan options that provide money for college students include Perkins Loans which are designated for students that meet low income criteria. The availability of Perkins loans are usually limited because each school participating in the Federal Perkins Loan program is given a maximum amount of Perkins Loan funds each year.

PLUS loans are available for parents to borrow money for college for their children. These loans are awarded regardless of financial need and allow parents to borrow up to the full cost of the child's education. To qualify for a PLUS loan the student must be classified as dependent.

Scholarship money for college can be found by inquiring at your college scholarship office, searching online and using scholarship directories. Always contact local businesses and outlets of national chains - retail stores, banks, and even restaurants often offer scholarships. Also connect with civic organizations such as Retired Teacher Associations, Kiwanis, Optimist club and other community organizations.

Financial aid college assistance is available for students and their families. They should first start with the FAFSA, being careful to watch the FAFSA Filing deadlines, to determine all government backed programs. Next students should discuss other options with their school's financial aid office. Finally scholarships should not be overlooked as there are a variety of program available based on need, academic department or other criteria.

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