Here is some advice I picked up off the web from financial aid administrators recently:
- Develop a plan (from News Journal): "The harsh reality is a lot of people didn't plan for [paying for] higher
education," said Eric Nelson, vice president for finance at Wesley College, a private school in Dover."You can't do it overnight, so especially in this economy there are some things that people have been unprepared for."
- Apply early for aid (Detroit Free Press and The Spectrum and Daily News) and Greenville News)
- "You maximize your aid package by getting it in early," said Al Hermsen, financial-aid director at Wayne State University. "Wait, and you can really lose out."
- "Mohave Community College Financial Aid Director Bill Osborn said, "It is important to apply early because some funds are limited and go to students on a first-come, first-served basis; like the Federal Work Study program. During the current year, the work study funds were disbursed in the first round of awarding, to students who had applied before Feb. 15."
- "Submit the FAFSA "as early as possible even if you have to estimate," said Keith Reeves, associate director of financial aid at Clemson. "You can go back and correct it after you've done your taxes," he said. "That way, you can meet deadlines and get the fullest consideration for any available financial aid."
- Pay down student loans while in school (The Facts): "The best way to pay off student loans is to begin making payments while in school, Sims [Dora Sims, director of financial aid at Alvin Community College] said. There is no penalty for paying early, he said. “They’ll get in a good habit,” Blount [Caite Blount, TDECU vice president of business development for lending products] said. There usually is room in everyone’s budget for a small monthly payment, she said."