Student loans and financial aid
Student loans can make life as a student much easier. They allow you to completely focus your attention on your studies. But beware- when you graduate you have to start paying off these loans. Don't go into the loan process with unrealistic expectations about what you will earn when you get out of school. Sometimes it can take years to get enough experience to earn a decent paying job. You will have to pay towards your loans regardless of where you work or how much you make.
If it's your first time filing for financial aid, you need to know how to get the ball rolling. Getting money for college is not as complicated as you might think.
The financial aid process is a different for each student, but there are a few things that are common for everyone. You should apply for financial aid even if you think you won't qualify. Many variables are considered when determining eligibility, so go for it.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) determines eligibility for Federal Student Aid programs as well as eligibility for many private grant and scholarship programs. Filing the FAFSA is essential even if you don't think you will qualify for federal financial aid.
Completing the FAFSA will make you eligible for lots of non-federal aid. Even if you don't need a loan now, the paperwork is done should you change your mind.
You can fill out the FAFSA form online at: FAFSA on the Web.
Be sure to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1st of the year you will need financial aid.
Have these items handy when you fill out the FAFSA:
- Your Social Security card and driver's license
- Your W-2 Forms or other records of earned-income
- Your (and your spouse's, if you are married) federal income tax return
- Your parent's federal income tax return (unless you are filing as independent)
- Records of other untaxed income you received, including welfare benefits, social security benefits, TANF, veteran's benefits, and military or clergy allowances
- Your current bank statements and records of stocks, bonds, and other investments
- Your business or farm records, if applicable
- Your alien registration card (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
Financial Aid Resources
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