How do I apply for financial aid?

Getting a college degree is an excellent way to broaden your career opportunities. With a college education you improve your chances to get a higher paying job with the possibility of benefits, promotion and job satisfaction. Considering the potential return on your education investment, it is no surprise that a college degree comes at a high price. No matter what sort of degree or training you pursue from a college, university or trade school, the federal government has many types of financial aid available to students with different needs. Go directly to your school’s financial aid office to learn about all of the financial aid options available to you.

Top 3 Things You Need to Know About Financial Aid: Apply, Apply, Apply!

Last year, the federal government awarded almost $78 billion to U.S students. To join the ranks of students benefiting from these funds by receiving a grant, work-study or low-interest loan, you must apply! Before you look into private loans that often have higher rates and less flexibility regarding repayment, be sure to apply for federal financial aid first.

Where to Begin: the FAFSA

As you begin your journey into the world of financial aid, you will become familiar with the FAFSA or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA is the form you must fill out in order to obtain federal financial aid. If it seems long and intimidating, just take your time and ask your financial aid office any questions you may have, but be aware of the deadline since there are rarely exceptions.

Reasons to Apply

In 2006, many changes were made to the federal financial aid programs. For example, Stafford and PLUS loans have fixed interest rates instead of variable interest rates. Also, Stafford loans expanded their award limits, offering higher amounts per academic year. Finally, PLUS loans were made available to graduate and professional degree students. Ask your financial aid office about other advantageous changes made in 2006.