Thursday, February 25, 2010

Things to consider about financial aid and your college

Colleges and universities can claim to meet your financial need or give the best package. But you should be aware that there is a difference from school to school and that can affect you.

Some colleges have enough grants and scholarship money to cover your costs if you qualify. But many will make up the difference with federal student loans and others.

Many colleges take into account a student's family income. Some have a cap. Depending on the school, you may be expected to contribute more.

The total cost of education that the college or university is supposed to calculate is based on the costs of tuition, books, fees, and other things. Some schools will use a lower amount for costs other than tuition and come up with a different number than another school. This can make their cost seem lower, when actual costs may be larger.

Do your parents own a home? Some schools will weigh that in and might expect some sort of contribution based on the equity of the home.

Are your parents divorced and remarried? This might matter. Federal guidelines take into account only your real parents. Others will take into account step-parents as well.

Some colleges have strict cutoff dates as to when you need apply. If you are one day late, too bad.

Find out if your school offers merit scholarships for anyone, not just need-based.

If you have money, did you know that can affect your admission? Some schools will hold some seats just for cash paying students.

>>More College Money Help.

>>How to be a teacher and get a teaching job.

>>Pell Grants.

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