It does not have to be a bitter experience financing your college education if you prepare correctly and understand what is available to you in the way of funding. If you absolutely have no way of obtaining a loan and do not have access to any money then you might not have to forget about college. Instead you might opt to attend school at a less expensive community college instead of a big university. It is your choice and up to you to obtain the necessary information and facts. Many parents do not plan for college expenses, thinking that the cost will not slap them in the face when their child turns that big 18. Even fewer families understand just how much a college education really costs.
The cost to attend Princeton University can be $25,430 for tuition, $3,425 for room charge, $3,781 for board rate and $2,684 for miscellaneous expenses for a grand total of $35,320.00. Do understand that many colleges and universities charge far less than Ivy League schools do and still deliver an excellent education. The average private university charges around $22,000 per academic year and the public state university charges around $13,000.
There are three main types of financial aid a student can apply for. These consist of scholarships and grants which is money that does not have to be paid back. Then there are loans which is money you must pay back after graduation. The third source of money is from working a job. As soon as you have made a decision as to the college you want to attend or you have received an acceptance letter to a specific college, make an appointment to meet with the financial aid office to discuss your options.
Be sure to lay your family’s cards on the table. Have a discussion with your parents and find out how much they can afford to pay and how much you can contribute. Figure out creative ways to make up any difference. Make sure you have obtained all the costs to attend college. Understand how financial aid is awarded. It is given on the basis of merit and need. Most colleges today award their scholarship money on the basis of need and not so much on merit. You need to find out how much aid the school actually offers. Not all colleges can meet the costs 100%. If you have received an outside ward, find out if the college will allow you to keep it or if it will be deducted from the aid package.
Be sure to obtain the necessary forms as soon as possible. All financial aid applicants must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also referred to as FAFSA. These applications can be obtained from high school administrative offices. They can also be obtained from colleges and universities as well as on-line. Take copies of your financial aid forms and be sure to keep them organized in a binder. Set up a binder for each college if you are still trying to determine which one you will be attending.
Having copies of these records can be very helpful considering you must apply each year you attend school. Financial aid office can sometimes be intimidating. Do not worry about this and instead be nice to your counselor and work well together with them. They can do quite a bit for you when it comes to helping you find help for college expenses. More so than anything else, do not be ashamed to seek financial aid. The money is there to help the student obtain a college education.