Friday, March 14, 2014

8 Myths About College Financial Aid and What You Can Do To Get Aid

Paying for college is stressful, but knowing how financial aid is awarded can reduce parents’ anxiety and also make college more affordable. 

1. I’m not talented enough to get a scholarship.
You can get scholarships just for corresponding with the admissions office, or showing up for an interview, or filling out your FAFSA form correctly. One college in New York let this cat out of the bag.

2. I can’t afford an expensive college.
Expensive colleges inflate their prices in part to appear generous when they award scholarships. So apply to those private schools if you think you have the right grades and a chance of getting in.

3. My family has too much income to get financial aid.
Bill Gates qualifies for financial aid. All he would do is fill out a FAFSA form (Free Application For Student Aid) and his kids get a loan from the government starting at $5,500. Plus, merit aid is based on merit, not income.

4. Thousands of scholarships go unclaimed because they are too hard to find.
The internet is your desk-top resource for finding all kinds of scholarships. Don’t pay someone to find scholarship when you can do it yourself. There’s a lady in Michigan who found over $100,000 in scholarships for her son, and has a 33-page description of how she did it. Get it on Kindle for $10.00.

5. My high school grades are not good enough to get a scholarship.
Most financial aid is based, not on grades, but on need. To keep the aid you simply maintain a minimum GPA. Grades don’t count as much as you think: you can get aid based on your ethnicity, religion, your zip code, major, or evidence of a unique extracurricular activity.

6. Only athletes and minority groups get aid.
Colleges do award aid on this basis, but it’s only a small portion of the aid given.The FAFSA form, which determines how much aid you qualify for, doesn’t ask about your ethnicity or your athletic ability.

7. My grades are so good that I’m likely to get a “full ride” anywhere.
Sorry, but the competition for full ride scholarships is fierce, and colleges have a high bar for a full ride.

8. The paperwork is just too complicated.
In most cases all you have to do is fill out the FAFSA form. The form’s directions walk you through the process, and they even have an 800 number where you can stay on the phone as long as you need to get it right.