Avoid these common student financial aid mistakes
Many students spend more for college than they should by making some common mistakes when seeking financial aid. Follow these tips from KHEAA to make sure you get the help you need.
Some people don’t bother to apply for financial aid because they don’t think they’ll qualify. But they should submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to find out if they’re eligible for state and federal student aid programs. Not filing may hurt their chances of getting more free money for college.
Another common mistake is waiting until the last minute to apply for financial aid. Some programs have deadlines, while others have limited funds. Students and families should submit the FAFSA as early as possible after Jan. 1 of each year.
Colleges send each student who has applied for student aid a financial aid package. Students and their families should look it over carefully. They should compare offers if they have received offers from more than one school to see which one is the best deal.
Students who need loans to help pay for college must be good consumers. They should apply for federal student loans before applying for private loans. Not all private lenders offer the same rates and benefits. Borrowers should pay close attention to what lenders call the back-end benefits: the interest rate and principal reductions offered when repaying the loan.
KHEAA is a public, non-profit agency established in 1966 to improve students’ access to college. It provides information about financial aid and financial literacy at no cost to students and parents. It provides the ThinkAhead Net Price Calculator to universities and colleges. The calculator, available on a school’s website, lets students and parents determine their out-of-pocket costs for attending that school. KHEAA also helps colleges manage their student loan default rates and verify information submitted on the FAFSA.