Finding ways to afford college can seem daunting for both parents and students. However, there’s no need to be discouraged by startling headlines about student loan debt. North Greenville University’s Office of Financial Aid has experts who are professional, attentive, and thorough. Whether you’re a concerned parent, high school senior, or current college student who needs more financial aid, consider following this checklist to make college as affordable as possible.
Estimate the amount of money you’ll need.
NGU’s website has a list of expenses which are useful in calculating the cost of being a student. Students need to take many factors into consideration. Will they be a full-time or part-time student? Will they be living on-campus or off-campus? How much will they need each semester for incidentals? Determining these factors early will give students a better idea of how much financial aid they need to apply for.
Submit your FAFSA application.
FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. When students fill out a FAFSA application, they are matched with all eligible government financial aid. To fill out FAFSA, students should inform their parents that they will need access to their tax information and government documents. Be prepared to provide FAFSA with sensitive information such as your social security number. FAFSA is currently accepting submissions for the 2019-2020 academic year.
Use the Financial Aid Portal to see the scholarships you’ve received.
When a student becomes eligible for any type of aid, it will show up when they log in to the Financial Aid Portal. This is called the financial aid package. After looking at all the aid money they’re eligible for, students can accept or deny their financial aid package. The Financial Aid Office is notified electronically when the financial aid package is accepted or rejected. Aid is automatically added to the student’s account. Students should contact the Financial Aid Office if they are unable to access the Financial Aid Portal.
Look for private financial aid before taking out loans.
FAFSA gives each student the maximum amount of federal aid they’re eligible for. However, private scholarships must be applied for through each individual institution. NGU currently offers 35 institutional scholarships which students can apply for on the Financial Aid website. Fastweb is another excellent resource that matches eligible students with private scholarships. Students should keep in mind that their hobbies and interests can often earn them extra financial aid. There are scholarships for various clubs, music ensembles, and sports teams on campus.
Keep your information private.
Many sources of financial aid require applicants to submit sensitive information such as their social security number and tax documents. Students should know their social security number and have access to personal information. However, this information should be protected to preserve the student’s identity. Students should have a secure, designated area to store their personal information. A good alternative is for students to leave sensitive documents at home with their parents and have their parents send them a facsimile when the information is needed.
Thanks to a variety of financial aid options available to college students, the need for student loans can be reduced or eliminated. If students or their parents have never applied for financial aid before and are unsure about what to do, they can contact the Financial Aid Office. Be sure to check NGU’s financial aid website frequently to see if new scholarships are available.
Written by Office of Marketing and Communications Intern Carson Myers.