Help! I'm broke and I can't rise up!

by Portia Lewis
(Baltimore, Maryland, USA)

Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College

Cramming that FAFSA in on February 28th, (29th if you’re lucky)? A few weeks later when that financial aid money’s supposed to start rolling in… you don’t have any, or not enough to bridge that gap between you going to college, and you sitting at home in your faded bathrobe watching Game of Thrones!


I can help!

Firstly, the pre-game to financial aid assistance: Do FAFSA early! (It’ll also help your piece of mind!

But assuming you did that, here’s my Plan A.

Ever heard of a Parent PLUS loan? It’s where your parent becomes the cosigner of an extra loan that’ll hopefully cover the difference between the money the government gave you… and the money you need. All you need is…

1. A parent.
2. …with good credit

Now it seems simple enough, and if it works for you, great! I made it through my first four years because of Parent PLUS loans….

But if it doesn’t work—and it very well might not, because of one reason or another… you’re going to be looking at Plan B:

Make friends with your current or future student financial services.

Seriously!

Now, I don’t mean take them to lunch, but don’t be afraid to let them know that you’re b.r.o.k.e—and here’s why! Those people are human too, and I’ve had friends who’ve had financial aid representatives help them find scholarships, grants and loans for them.

Now WAIT—you can’t rely on this of course, and I wouldn’t want your spirit crushed if you step out of the office empty handed. The point of this tip is to take your money in your OWN hands. Financial aid messes up sometimes, and it’s up to you, to fix it.

Plan C: Scholarships, they’re everywhere! Just try even if you think you won’t get it.

Plan D: Summer Job. To bulk up on spending money for everyday expenses.


Read more College Financial Aid Tips from other students and parents who have been through the college process.



Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Portia for sharing your tips about college financial aid. Those parent Plus loans can be a good choice for some students. Best of luck to you.

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Work As A T.E.A.M.

by Jalina Ray
(Randallstown, Maryland, US)

I will be the first to admit that I like many of my peers I have adopted a serious attitude complex which is mostly directed at our parents. Well, ironically enough most of my attitude is directed at my mom and not my dad who checked out of his parental responsibilities a long time ago. Nonetheless the bad attitude towards my mom had to change if I was going to get accepted to a college and apply for financial assistance. This is why I developed the T.E.A.M idea - Together Everyone Achieves More.

My advice to other high school seniors is to understand the concept of TEAM. Working with your parents is the best possible way to get things going when it comes to the college admissions process. I am not sure who said this but someone once said "you can get more with honey than lemons." True statement because when you treat your parents with the respect they deserve and lose the teenage attitude, they become like guardian angels who can offer you advice and assistance to get you through the application process.

Once I embraced the TEAM concept and treated my mom nicer she was very helpful in the college application and financial aid process. I will admit I don't think I could have succeeded without the following advice from my mom:

1. Do things in advance. Do not procrastinate.

2. Keep a running list of what needs to be done. And a folder with all your information in one place.

3. Take a couple of hours each week and look for scholarships. Try to apply to one each week.

4. Apply to the school of your dreams and others too. Make sure you apply to at least 6 or 7 schools.

5. FAFSA is not the enemy. It is easy to complete all you need is a little patience.

6. Work with me and not against me.

Once I begin to work with my mom as a TEAM member I got so much accomplished and felt good about the college application and financial aide process. Because we worked as at TEAM I got accepted to my third school choice - Tuskegee University where I plan to study veterinarian science, and we have been awarded $5,000 toward my education. Although we are not where we need to be with getting money to cover my education, it is a good start.

Now that I have lost the attitude (well most of it) and gained a TEAM, I am confident that the TEAM will help me reach my goals in the end.

Read more College Financial Aid Tips from other students and parents who have been through process.



Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Jalina for your honesty about that attitude. A team approach is the best, and you are lucky to have a parent who will work with you. Best of luck to you.



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Financial Help

by Jaquelinne Cervantes
(Houston, Texas, US )

Money is a very important asset if you want to achieve great things here in the United States, especially if you want to attend college. College is not cheap; it has its high prices. Those prices are so high that many people in the United States graduate with approximately $40,000 of debt in loans they have to use in order to pay for their classes. But loans are not the only things that can help a student pay for college. There is also financial aid, scholarships, and grants that are available to everyone.

Financial aid depends on how much your parents or guardians make each year. The government decides how much money you are eligible to receive depending on the family’s taxes. Basically the lower your parent’s income is the more help the government will offer you. This money you do not have to pay back.

Scholarships are a very important for people trying to gain further education. Many people say that they do not have enough money to pay for college without looking for grants and scholarships. But anyone that has the determination to do something will find the way to achieve their goals, one way or another. There are a lot of different scholarships out there for everybody. There are scholarships for people of all; heritages, heights, demographics, and academic accomplishments. The only catch is that the students are the ones that have to search for these scholarships. Another thing students sometimes do not like is writing essays because many scholarships do require essays. Other than essay writing there is free money everywhere! There are many scholarships out there that do not require essays and simply require you to apply for them. Scholarships come in very helpful when you are in college because you need, as much money as you can get for tuition, books, and room and board does not come cheap. The best and most helpful part about scholarships is that they do not have to be paid back as long as you meet the requirements.

Grants are more selective. The university you attend will make you aware if you are eligible for any grants and if so what the requirements will be in order to receive these grants. For example some grants may require you to be a full time student at the university or to have a GPA average of 2.5. But different restrictions apply to different grants; they will notify you of what the requirements are when these grants are being offered. Grants, like financial aid and scholarship, do not have to be paid back.

There are many opportunities to receive money that will not leave you in debt after college. A major one I think is scholarships because there are so many out there, the only thing is that you have to look for them and apply. These scholarship providers want young people to have an opportunity to go to college and make a difference, to be able to change their economic status for the future. So there is no excuse in not going to college because there is a lot of help out there for anybody who seeks it.

Read more College Financial Aid Advice from other students and parents who have been through process.



Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Jaquelinne for some good advice College Financial Help. Good luck to you.



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