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College Financial Aid: Getting Started and Comparing the Options

If you choose to attend college, you’ll have many important issues to contemplate. You must compare universities, think about future job opportunities and find ways to set aside time for study. It’s also vital to examine various methods to fund your education. Some individuals use job income or savings to pay tuition and fees, but most students acquire at least some of the money from financial aid providers.

Almost anyone can obtain cash or loans to use for educational purposes. A wide range of nonprofit organizations, schools, government agencies and businesses offer assistance. Eligibility varies depending on your financial situation and academic performance. This guide will help you get started and learn about the options that you may qualify to use.

How to Begin

Before you search for sources of funding, it makes sense to estimate how much money you’ll need. Don’t just look at the tuition costs for classes that you plan to take. You will also have to add up the associated college fees and textbook prices. Keep in mind that you can often cut expenses by purchasing used books. Estimate how much you will spend on child care, bus or taxi rides, housing, and office supplies.

Below are 7 easy steps to the FAFSA

Start Here
Step 1-Student Demographics
Step 2-School Selection
Step 3-Dependency Status
Step 4-Parent Demographics
Step 5-Financial Information
Step 6-Sign and Submit
Step 7-Confirmation

Crucial Form

Be sure to apply for assistance from the U.S. government. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid as soon as you decide to attend college. You can fill it out online in about 60 minutes. The FAFSA may require information from your checking account statements, W-2 forms and/or 1099 reports. If you serve in the military, contact the nearest Educational Service Office beforehand.


Most financial aid comes in the form of grants, scholarships or loans. Students benefit when they take the time to learn about all three options before applying for assistance. Your eligibility differs based on several factors, including the specific college and course of study that you select. The aid available to you will also vary depending on any prior university education or military service.


A tremendous variety of organizations offer scholarships to college students. Employers, charities, churches and universities may provide such assistance. They normally award these funds to individuals who have performed well in school, served the community or excelled in sporting events. Some scholarships help learners with impressive artistic abilities. Either way, you don’t have to pay this money back.


Like scholarships, grants are treated as gifts rather than loans. You don’t need sports trophies or excellent grades to receive a grant. Students qualify for this assistance if they lack sufficient money to pay for higher education. The U.S. government provides learners with Pell and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity grants (FSEO). You must complete the FAFSA to become eligible.

The Department of Education supplies colleges with FSEO grant money and allows them to select the recipients. Students benefit from applying as early as possible. You can only qualify for the Pell Grant if you haven’t already earned another degree. City and state governments provide income-based grants as well. The same goes for certain employers, nonprofits and universities.


The federal government supplies subsidized loans to learners who can’t afford to pay standard commercial rates. They feature flexible repayment options and don’t require high credit scores. If you cannot qualify for subsidized financing or it doesn’t provide enough money, look at private loans. Credit unions and banks offer educational financing to people with favorable credit ratings. However, you’ll probably encounter considerably higher interest rates. You might also need to begin making payments before leaving college.

When many prospective students start applying for financial aid, they find the process confusing and stressful. Fortunately, you don’t need to handle it on your own. At ASA College, a professional financial aid advisor will help you explore all available options at face-to-face interview or phone consultation. Feel free to contact us if you need advice on completing the FAFSA or finding the most suitable sources of aid.

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