Making financial aid work for you can seem like a complicated process. However, it’s a process that’s absolutely worth your time and effort. Like most things in life, the amount you get back is only worth how much time you’re willing to put into it. The more dedication you have to this cause, the better you’ll feel when it comes time to find out what financial assistance you’ve been awarded.
There really isn’t anything quite like looking at your bank account the minute after you deposit the money you’ve received from financial aid. You literally feel the burden you’ve been carrying lift off of your shoulders. That money covers tuition, lab fees, the outrageous cost of textbooks and even any supplies you need. That money can be an absolute lifesaver, especially when you feel like you’re at the end of your rope.
Like you, I’m a college student who needed some financial help. Let’s face it – school isn’t cheap. Although a diploma is absolutely worth the cost, that doesn’t make it any easier when it’s actually time to pony up the funds. Relying on aid monies is one of the best things I’ve ever done for my academic career and my stress levels. Unfortunately, money doesn’t just magically appear in your checking account, but it can be fairly easy to obtain if you’re willing to put forward a little bit of work (and also accept a little bit of help.)
Like a lot of you, I wasn’t exactly sure where to turn when I needed to find some sort of help to pay for school. Fortunately, my financial aid office was there to help me every single step of the way. That’s one of the most important lessons you can learn about financial assistance: if you have questions, you’re allowed to ask them – and your financial office will have someone who can provide you with an answer. You’re not alone while searching for assistance and you should never feel like you are.
One of the number one questions that many students ask while going through this process is what kind of aid they should apply for. The most basic answer to that is that you should apply for every kind of financial aid you’re eligible for! My mom used to tell me that the worst answer I could ever get was “no” when I asked a question – and that I would never know the answer to a question if I never bothered to ask. Financial assistance is a lot like that – if you don’t try for everything you can, who knows what options are actually available to you?
Personally, the type of assistance that I qualified for first was a student loan. I was old enough and had good enough credit that I was able to get that student loan in my own name, although there are options for people in different situations. For example, parents can co-sign on loans for students. Student loans mean fast cash that you can repay after you’ve graduated and had time to find a job with a decent salary, thanks to your brand new college degree.
Here’s the great thing about financial aid, though: I don’t have to limit myself simply because I already qualified for a student loan. Want to know something, actually? Just tonight, I was filling out a scholarship application in an attempt to get more money to help pay for college expenses. Just because you qualify for one type of help does not mean that you’re completely out of luck when the next academic year comes around. Aid for college really is what you make of it!