There’s no need to pay for college or career school on your own.
If you need help right away, some programs may direct deposit a short-term loan into your bank account.
Here’s how to get financial aid from the government so you can start studying now.
Where’s the first place you should look for financial aid for school? The federal government, as it can give you help via:
- Grants – Awards based on financial need that do not need to be repaid.
- Student loans – Money you borrow that you’ll have to repay with interest.
- Work-study programs – Money you earn by working a job as a student.
What’s the best form of aid of that bunch? It’s obviously grants since you don’t have to pay them back nor invest your time to reap their monetary rewards. But even student loans and work-study jobs are helpful since they keep you from having to fork over cash upfront to pay for tuition and other expenses.
How do you get the ball rolling for these forms of federal student aid? Here’s the application process in a nutshell.
Before You Apply
As is the case when applying for anything, you’ll need to provide information about your situation when applying for federal student aid. Financial need plays a huge part in determining what help you qualify for, so start gathering documents like bank statements and W-2s.
Beyond that, you’ll need basic information like your Social Security number or Alien Registration number if you are not a citizen.
How to Apply
You might as well get familiar with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form right now. Why? Because it’s what you’ll need to fill out now and in the future to receive financial aid for the government.
What’s FAFSA’s primary purpose? To determine your financial need, which is why you’ll need to have your bank statements and W-2s handy to complete it.
Once your financial need level is determined, the government can figure out if you qualify for aid. This can then help the school you’re looking to attend send you support offers that’ll help reduce your college costs.
You’ll want to double-check your FAFSA form as you fill it out to ensure everything is correct. You’ll have a chance to do this again via your Student Aid Report that will be sent to you in the mail or electronically. Correct any errors you find and submit the report quickly so you can complete the application process.
What Comes Next
Hopefully, you’ll receive several financial aid offers from your school. Don’t just accept everything you’re offered, though, as some assistance forms are better than others.
Any grants are great since they’re free money. Remember that work-study involves a time commitment. Lastly, look over the terms of any student loans if you’re wary about going into debt after graduating. Loans should be accepted last since they do come with a financial cost.
Keeping Your Financial Aid
It’s important to remember that federal student aid is tied to your FAFSA form. As such, you’ll need to complete it every year to continue receiving benefits.