Being able to get financial aid enables many students to be able to go to college. Without it, education would not be possible. If you are in need of financial help to be able to go to college, you may be eligible for the financial aid you need. The government of the United States provides more than $150 billion each year to help students get a college education.
Be Accepted at a College for Study
One of the first steps you need to be qualified for financial aid for college is to apply and get accepted as a student. It will be necessary to already have graduated from a high school and have a diploma from a U.S. or foreign school. The school you apply to can be a regular college or a school that offers a certificate.
Get a Social Security Number
If you are a U.S. citizen, you need to have a Social Security Number. You will not need one if you are from the Republic of Palau, the Marshall Islands, or from the Federated States of Micronesia. People who possess a Green Card are also eligible to apply, as well as those who possess a T-visa, or if you have parents who have a T-1 visa. Males who are 18 are expected to register with the Selective Service.
Apply for Financial Aid with the FAFSA
Anyone who requests financial aid for education will need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). When you apply, you cannot already have debt from a Federal student loan. You will also be required to agree that the money will only be used for educational purposes.
Keep Up Your Grades
Once you are enrolled in college, it will be necessary to maintain a certain grade average. This will prove that you are interested in getting an education. Having higher grades may very well also mean that a college will be more interested in that student, which may also result in obtaining other financial help in the form of grants and scholarships from the college – as well as from other sources.
Calculate Your Expected Family Contribution
Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is a number you will need to know to fill out the FAFSA, says USNews. It shows how much a family should contribute toward your education. It is based on income, the number of family members, and assets. One thing that is not considered is how much debt the family has at the time. The EFC number can be calculated online.
Once you have determined your family’s EFC, you may want to select a college based on that number. If the cost of the college is less than your EFC, then it is doubtful if any financial aid will be given. Any cost above the EFC, however, may be eligible for financial aid.
Financial Aid May Come in More Than One Form
A college may provide a student with financial help in different forms. Not all of it may be given as money, but when combined, it will be a great help. While some of it will be given as money, if approved, the student may also be given some grant money, which does not need to be repaid, and possibly some in the form of a work scholarship. A work scholarship means that the student is hired by the college to work so many hours a week, in addition to their classes, in order to reduce their tuition bill.
College students and potential college students need to be aware that most colleges will not provide a student with 100 percent of the costs. Some of them will, and those that do will often advertise this fact.