Late last year it became quite apparent that it was time for me to cover the costs for my college degree. My parents had been helping before, but I’m an adult now, and I wanted to earn my degree with my own paycheck. Financial independence in mind, I decided it was time to meet with the financial aid office.
The first step towards paying for college seemed like visiting the financial aid office, or that’s what I figured, anyway. I began my journey by looking into grants online for opportunities to reduce my expenses, and learned quite a bit. I couldn’t find the office myself, but a campus map helped – and it turns out, I’d be walking blindly past it every day. This whole process of financial aid seemed like it would be a lot easier with a guidebook.
My life would have been made significantly easier if I had a guidebook for the financial aid process. Unfortunately, I didn’t. Fortunately, I can make one for you. First step is contacting the financial aid office – it’s the right place to get started because they can inform you about everything you need to know.
Actually, there’s a minor step before you even head to your appointment at the financial aid office. You need to sign online and see if there are any forms you’re required to bring with you to the office. For example, I had to bring paperwork that proved my state residency as well as paperwork that proved I was married. Although you might not need to bring in exactly what I did, it’s important that you check ahead so you don’t have to make more than one trip. Don’t forget to look up scholarship program while you are online, so you will know about all of your options.
Actually, while you’re trying to figure out what kind of paperwork you need to bring, see if you can set an appointment with a financial aid advisor. Yes, you can usually just walk in completely impromptu with no planning, but the lines at the financial aid office tend to stretch for what seems like miles. If you can’t set an appointment, try to show up as early as possible – the closer to opening time, the better.
Having an appointment is almost as important as having your paperwork in order. However, I neglected to tell you the number one most important step before you step foot into your financial aid office. Understandably, they’re going to want some financial information from you to see what type of financial aid is going to be best suited to your needs. Luckily, there’s actually already a standard form in place to consolidate this information and make it less complicated for you.
The form you’re looking for can be filled out either online or in person, though it might be easier to do online. It’s called a FAFSA, which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It asks enough questions to last about an hour – the questions cover everything from your financial status to your tax history. Filling it out will greatly simplify your life!
As long as you have yourself under control (and your paperwork in order), visiting the financial aid office should only be painful because you’re up early. Get the process started today, and find out how successful you can be at finding help in paying for school! Visit Education Connection to see how online degrees can save you additional money.