How to Pay for College the Smart Way

(Wednesday, September 4, 2019) There are many types of student aid with varying eligibility requirements and options to consider.

  • Federal Student Aid – there are nine different programs funded by the federal government.
  • State-Based Aid – There are 605 different programs funded by individual states, with various eligibility requirements.  To find all program in your state, visit www.FAFSA.com/stateaid.
  • College-Specific Aid – Most of the 6,500+ individual colleges have aid programs that award both need and merit aid.
  • Grant -Money that does not have to be repaid.
  • Loans – Money that has to be repaid after graduation.  Many loan programs have interest subsidized by the government.
  • Scholarships – Money, usually awarded based on merit, that doesn’t have to be repaid.
  • Work-Study – On-campus jobs that pay the student a wage.

To qualify for state and federal aid programs, students must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year they attend college.  The FAFSA has up to 140 questions relating to both the student’s and parents’ financial situation.  Making mistakes on the FAFSA application can be costly and can affect the amount of aid you are awarded or cause delays in getting aid.  Your FAFSA application is subject to “verification” by the college/university financial aid office.  The Department of Education provides a free website for filing the FAFSA (at www.fafsa.ed.gov).

Follow these tips to maximize your student aid eligibility.

  • File Early – Many student aid programs disburse funds on a first-come, first-served basis.  With some student aid programs being underfunded and others having been discontinued, it’s more important than ever to file early.
  • Beat All Deadlines – Most states and colleges have very specific financial aid deadlines.  It’s important that you file prior to these deadlines.
  • Be Accurate – Just one wrong answer can affect your eligibility and potentially reduce your aid award.

Other options available to parents and their students include DuTrac’s Home Equity Options:

If you have additional questions regarding DuTrac Community Credit Union’s products or services, please contact one of our  financial services consultants by e-mail at members@DuTrac.org, in person at any of DuTrac’s office locations or by phone at 563.582.1331, or 800.475.1331.

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