You have no job. You want to get ahead. College loans looms and the bill is steep. What do you do? Don’t panic. Here are some practical tips and ideas for getting the most out of the fact that you have no money, and you want to continue in college. That’s right. Being broke can be an asset if you no how to work it. The Federal government parted with a cool $82 billion in scholarships, loans and grants. The difference between those who received money and those who didn’t is in motivation, research and the ability to fill out forms.
First, you want to know what you are worth. Do an asset check to find your current financial level. Take into account everything you haven’t spent since you started school, including stocks, bonds, savings and donations from family and friends. This will give you a baseline from which you can start.
FASFA: This is where you start applying for loans and grants. To skip this step is to shoot yourself in the foot financially. All dependent students qualify for $23,000 in Stafford loans and qualify for Pell grants which you can only receive by filling out the FASFA forms. The Pell grant is free cash from the government to go to school. If you have pursued this option and are still in school, now is the time. Be sure to meet the deadlines. Turning in a form late can significantly reduce your chance of getting the money you need, so keep in mind your state’s deadline and file early if possible. Missed deadlines are the No. 1 mistake students make when applying for federal aid.
Think about more loans and compare Stafford vs. PLUS Loan, looking at the tradeoffs of borrowing money through an unsubsidized Stafford Loan versus going with a PLUS Loan. Whatever you do, apply.
Sallie Mae offers loans for working students, full time students and parents. They offer flexible repayment plans, an online process that takes less than five minutes to fill out online, and between $1,500 to $40,000 in loans direct to you for your college-related expenses.. After going through the Federal FASFA application, think about getting more money through a Sallie Mae application process. There are no Federal forms and it is tax-deductible.
Dependent students are expected to put 35 percent of all of their income through savings and trust fund cash toward college. Parents, on the other hand, need only contribute 5.6 percent of their assets. This means that any extra money you come across during your college years should be banked with Dad or stuck into a 529 plan and not into your personal savings account. It just makes sense.
Chuck your debt early. Don’t wait until you graduate to think about getting student loan consolidations advice so that when you are ready, you will know where to go and how-to apply. You family should reduce the debt as well, because it will increase your access to larger, lower-interest loans and increase your eligibility.
All in all, finding money to continue college is all about doing research, persevering and exhausting all options before tossing in the towel on registering for next semester.