Financial Aid, Part 5: Educating yourself on how to pay the least for college

Post By: COYD Staff

1. Maximizing your financial aid eligibility.

Research and a smart strategy are the key to maximizing your financial aid elibility. There are simple things you can do, like saving money in your parent’s name or paying off your credit card debt, prior to applying for the FAFSA to minimize your Expected Family Contribution and maximize your financial aid eligiblity. You can learn about these simple tactics online and in books.

We recommend the website, which dedicates a section on maximing your aid eligibility. It lists strategies that are based on loopholes in the Federal Need Analysis Methodology.

We also recommend the book Paying for College Without Going Broke, 2010 Edition as a comprehensive resource to maximize your financial aid. It’s hand down the best book out there for financial aid strategies.Paying for college without going broke

2. See if you qualify for automatic scholarships

A few months ago, we listed several colleges and universities that have automatic scholarships, which are essentially scholarships that are given to students who fulfill certain criteria. They aren’t competitive, and they don’t require an essay. Go to the previous posting “You can afford to go to college: Automatic guaranteed scholarships are out there” ¬†for more information.

3. Maximize your chances of getting other types of scholarships

There are thousands of scholarships out there that are waiting for your application. You can use internet resources like Fastweb to search through a database of scholarships. In a previous post titled “Good Scholarship Sites“, we list several sites , like FastWeb that help you with your scholarship search.

In addition to these sites, we recommend the book How to Go to College Almost for Free. Ben Kaplan, the author of this book, actually won more than 20 merit-based scholarships, and he self-published this book so that more and more students can graduate college debt-free. It’s easy to read and provides a “game plan” that students can cleary follow.

College for almost free

The costs of educating yourself about financial aid pale in comparison to the amount of money you will be saving in college tuition. Consider the financial aid process just as important as the application process. Don’t wait to research and plan your financial aid plan. The earlier you start the process, the better, and in this case, better means more financial aid and less debt in the future.


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