Students who are looking for financial assistance to meet college and university costs often begin by applying for free sources of financial assistance like scholarships and grants, and there are many who will begin by filling out a FAFSA application or applying for institutional financial assistance, which may also require completing a federal application for student assistance, but there are options beyond many commonly known scholarship and grant sources that students must seek out before turning to student loans.
Also, students have been prompted to talk with their university or financial aid office as there are some who, when financial assistance is not offered in an amount that is helpful, may be able to appeal their financial aid offers in the hopes of getting more funding to further their college education. However, when it comes to students who are currently looking for assistance, timeliness and attention to detail are two of the main factors that will usually come into play when students are successful at finding the assistance they need to meet college tuition costs without turning to loans as an alternative.
Students need to understand that there are a wide variety of scholarships and grants that can be made available for their specific needs, but many fail to seek out particular forms of assistance that are only available for individuals in a particular major, attending any particular university, or financial adoptions that will factor in their background as there are some forms of aid based on a student’s ethnicity or financial status.
Educational scholarships that may be available to minorities, men and women from a low income backgrounds, or scholarships that are strictly based on merit are just a few of the opportunities that students need to look into when they are pursuing financing for their college degree. Also, when a student is pursuing a career or degree in a field like science, technology, teaching, or another high-need field, there are usually more options that may be open for these individuals as, again, specific areas of educational pursuits often have sources of funding that go beyond the widely known scholarships and grants that many students feel to be their only options.
However, an article on Bankrate.com states that, “The fastest and easiest way to land more cash is to give the school a good reason why you need it.” Simply put, if a student has a change in their income or certain situations arise, like a family member becoming unemployed, these are aspects of financial need that could help a student during an appeals process or may need to be presented to a university by the student, as this could influence whether more student aid may be available or not.
Understandably, there are some students who have been in a good financial position but saw cutbacks in their parents finances due to job loss or other factors, like illness, and in these situations it could be helpful to a student if these changes are reported and changes made to a student’s FAFSA form. While the appeals process or changes in a student’s financial situation may be something that only a small number may need to take advantage of, advisors who are helping students look for financial assistance in the in the 2011-2012 school year often point out that simply taking the time to not only fill out more widely known scholarship and grant applications, but looking at specific forms of scholarships and grants, as well as institutional financial aid options are some of the methods that have been helpful for students in the past when it comes to not only finding all of the aid they need to meet college costs but avoiding student loans as well.