How to Pay for College

April 27, 2013 7:24:56 AM PDT
Throughout April, high school seniors across the Chicago area are learning which colleges have accepted them for the fall. That means it's on to step two: figuring out how to pay for college.

Joan Jensen, Pres./ CEO, Central Credit Union of Illinois has some tips.

Joan's Tips:

A. If the thought of big tuition bills is keeping you awake

1. Complete the paperwork for free money
Complete and submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid ( FAFSA) form BEFORE the June 30th deadline.
This can be done electronically by visiting www.fafsa.ed.gov/.
Keep in mind that some schools may have an earlier deadline, so contact the school's admission or financial aid office to find out when forms are due. 2. Negotiate the financial aid package
Don't accept the first offer too quickly from your first choice school.
Make a counter offer and ask for more money.
Use better offers from other schools as leverage. 3. Look locally for additional money
Check local organizations for scholarship money.
Inquire about scholarships granted by local organizations such as American Legion, Rotary Club, Jaycees, and other community groups.
Check with your high school counselor for recommendations. 4. Know when your second choice is the best choice
If graduating from your first choice school will leave you deeply in debt, consider other options. Consider starting your college education at a community college and transferring down the road. You will save big dollars and still get your degree from your number one school.
Or, you could choose a less expensive four year college and still save big money.

B. Feeling restless and looking for extra help?

1. Federal Pell Grants
awarded on the basis of financial need
do not need to be paid back

2. Stafford Loans
A subsidized loan with a lower interest rate is granted on the basis of financial need.
Unsubsidized loans are not awarded on the basis of need and have higher rates of interest.
Because loans must be paid back, it is best to keep all borrowed dollars to a minimum.

3. Work/Study
Many schools offer work/study programs. Check with the financial aid office to see what is available.
interest to accumulate during these periods, interest will be added to the principal amount of your loan, and additional interest will be based on that higher amount.

4. Scour the web for more funding sources
CollegeView.com
Fastweb.com
Finaid.org
Scholarships.com

C. Resting peacefully thinking you have it all covered? Good for you, but check again
Books and travel expenses can add some big bucks
Graduate school may also lie ahead for some areas of study
Keep up your good habits. Budget money wisely and be on the outlook for scholarship money.


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