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Understanding Your Financial Aid Package: Has the College Made Its Best Offer?

Apr 15, 2012

College is expensive these days- there is now two ways about that. In an era where the cost of everything is on the rise it is important to realize that you may be able to get a better deal on the price of schooling- you just have to know how to ask. Getting a lower price is always something that you should look into. While it is not possible at times, it is important if you want to make sure you are getting the most value for your money. The fact is that the college may not have made you the best offer- when you suspect this it is time for you to take a proactive approach.

All colleges will give merit based scholarships to students that qualify. These scholarships can be for things such as a good academic history or excellence in a sport. Whatever the case may be, the amount that you get from the college is somewhat arbitrary. In other words, there is a chance that they can find more scholarship money for you if they are pressed to. When you receive your financial aid package back from a certain school look to see how much scholarship money they have offered you- take note of it. If another college on your radar has offered you more scholarship money it is ok for you to bring this up. In fact, most colleges will reevaluate your financial aid if another school has beaten their offer; more times than not they will find more scholarship money for you. 

Another important form of financial aid is grants. Like scholarships, grants do not need repaid once your schooling is done. The thing to remember about grants is that they are usually given out on an as needed basis. For example, there are grants out there for people that have a low income. These grants are designed to make college a bit more affordable. The key is to make sure that you ask the financial aid office at the college of your choice if you have been considered for all the grants that you are eligible for- ask them for advice on how to get more grant money. One of the key things that they will tell you is that you are likely to get more grant money if you get your financial aid request into the government early.

A final type of financial aid is loans. As you could have guessed, loans will need repaid to the lending institution when you are done with school. The good thing about loans, however, is that since they are for schooling they will have a somewhat low interest rate. It is important to note, however, that the individual schools will not be able to help you get a loan. Simply put, they can advise you towards some resources but they will not be able to loan the money to you themselves. The good news is that you should be able to get a loan easily if you can find a cosigner that has good credit.

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