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How to apply for financial aid

1. What are the types of financial aid?
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© Nikolai Sorokin

Financial aid can be applied for scholarships, need based awards, for work-study employment as well as for student loans.
2. When to apply
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© WikiMedia (Wikimedia)

It is always best to apply for financial aid in the first half of the year. Different schools have different cut off dates for applications, you should check with the schools you are applying to.
3. Filling out the form
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© Alice Slee

Fill out the FAFSA form, that is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This form can be obtained from the Office of Post-Secondary Education, or online. Included in the application is a student aid report, this will help to determine the expected level of contribution from your family. The application form should always be completed in black ink.
4. Other information needed
© WikiMedia (Wikimedia) Bachelors degree from Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Oregon. It wasn
© WikiMedia (Wikimedia)

As well as the general information such as your name and address, you will also have to supply your social security number, marital status and the type of degree you hold from high school.
5. Financial information required
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© Scott Maxwell

The financial information needed in the application should include your family’s total income, the number of people that live at the address given as your home address and other members of the family already in college.
6. How many schools to apply to
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© Scott Maxwell

The application should have the names of six schools the applicant is interested in attending. This list can be changed later if the financial support is not provided by them.
7. Before posting the application
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© Pimlico Badger (Flickr)

Before mailing the application form ensure it is signed and dated. Photocopy every section of the application and retain this for your records. The decision as to how much financial aid you can expect to receive will be mailed to you and to the schools you have applied to attend.
8. Tips and warnings
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© Scott Maxwell

All money that you have borrowed has to be repaid once your schooling is completed.

You may find you are eligible for more than one type of financial aid and you should check carefully to see what you can or may be able to claim.

A financial aid consultant can assist you with finding the best deal available for you. This type of consultant can also be hired if you are having problems in deciding what you can apply for. Beware that hiring such a consultant may mean your application may cause your application to be more heavily scrutinized.

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