Tips for Maximizing Need-Based Financial Aid for College

Financial aid plays a key role in bankrolling college for just about every student. Why is need-based financial aid so important and how can you acquire the maximum amount? Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t presume on merit-based scholarships – Very few people receive a full-ride scholarship. Don’t shy away from applying for merit-based scholarships, but just remember that you are likely to need some additional aid if you don’t want to pay student loans for years to come.
  • Apply early – Find out the earliest dates that you can apply for FAFSA and other student aid, and get those applications turned in right away so you don’t miss out.
  • Don’t assume your parents make too much money – Financial aid is based on a calculation called EFC (expected family contribution). This will obviously be higher if your family makes more money. However, there are other things that can be subtracted from household income that lower your EFC. You can’t always trust an online EFC calculator, so don’t assume you are disqualified before you even fill out the application. Plenty of money goes unclaimed each year, so you may get something, especially if you are going to a very expensive private university.

Help Planning Your College Financing

College Planning Source helps students and families with both admissions and financial planning. Check our blog regularly for the latest planning tips and contact us for one-on-one support and workshops that can help you to meet your family’s unique needs. To get started, call 858.676.0700, or submit our online contact form.

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