Making the Most of Your Financial Aid

February 8, 2012

Financial aid isn’t supposed to pay for everything in school. Even if you get student loans, you still have to pay for rent, books, living costs, and other expenses for months after the semester starts. It’s important to plan ahead, find other income and save money in order to have money at the end of the semester. In many cases, it may seem like a giant payday when you first get your financial aid, but it’s actually barely enough to live on for each month in the semester. You can make the most of your financial aid with a good budget. There are some other ideas to keep in mind.

When you first pick out a program, you have to look at the per-year cost. You have to think about supplies as well. The institution that you choose needs to supply a net-cost analysis that includes the cost per year and annual tuition. From these numbers, you should know an estimated tuition cost, book costs, and living expenses. The total number usually won’t be the amount of financial aid that you receive, unless you have no expected contribution and receive multiple grants, scholarships and loans to cover your full costs.

In order to get the most financial aid, you should always apply for the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid early, meaning before March. The deadline isn’t until July, but you have to be able to apply and send in verification forms, especially if you are a low-income student. The government usually requires proof that you have no expected contribution through tax records of yourself and your parents. That’s why it is so important to apply early, not only will you qualify for education grants like the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, but you increase your financial aid amounts by hundreds of dollars. Colleges don’t wait to process financial aid applications all at once. It’s first come, first serve, so be the first served by applying early.

When you plan out your semester, you have to account for every cost and stick to a plan, especially if you only have a part-time job or no job at all. You have to make sure that you are also taking cost effective measures, such as walking to school or riding the bus. In some schools, you may qualify for a free bus pass with your student I.D. in order to get back and forth to school. You can also cut costs by getting on a student meal plan. This will give you at least one meal a day, though you can get on more expensive plans to pay for every meal. You can also take advantage of college events that will usually have free food and entertainment. By planning out each month, providing money for your rent, book costs, unexpected school expenses, and utilities, you’ll cover the basics each month. However, you want to make sure that you are also saving for the first month in the next semester. Unfortunately, financial aid awards usually aren’t paid out until the second week, which could create problems if your rent or other bills are due on the first.

blog comments powered by Disqus

EducationGrants for school

Whether you’re on your way to school for the first time or thinking about finishing up a degree you should explore your options when it comes to obtaining Grants for School.

Use our FREE Custom Search Tool & see what you qualify for:

Latest Posts

Education Grants for Private School

Dec 14, 2012

Students showing remarkable talents can also get a grant for a private school, including one for younger students in middle school or high school.

Education Grants for Online Schools

Dec 13, 2012

Nowadays, more and more students are turning to online education, both for convenience and the ability to get through your coursework quickly.