It is almost impossible in today’s world to receive a good college education without some form of financial assistance. However, student loans often come with complicated application processes which can be confusing and intimidating. A fear of filling up complicated application forms is hardly a good reason to forgo a good higher education and thus every student should have a basic understanding of the application process. Here are a few student loan tips to making your application process easier.
FAFSA: The First Step in Financing an Education
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA has one of the most tedious application procedures. The application form asks for detailed information about the student’s financial situation; even tax returns need to be mentioned on this form. But don’t let this deter you! In fact the FAFSA is the first application form you should be filling up. It is the most important application form you shall receive. This is because it is the only method of obtaining federal funds for education such as the Stafford Loans. Moreover most state and institution based student loans have FAFSA as one of their pre requisites. Hence it is next to impossible to apply for a loan program with good terms without filling up your FAFSA.
Applying for Federal Aid
In spite of FASFA being free and easily accessible online, its detailed nature makes students give up and settle for high interest private loans with unfavorable terms of payment. All one needs to overcome this hurdle is a bit of time to prepare. If you are applying for financial aid, you should get your tax returns done as soon as possible. The completed return, bank statement and financial statement have to be kept ready to fill up your FAFSA. Since FAFSA has an earlier deadline for submission than other loans. It is important to get a head start on your preparations.
School Based Financial Aid
Higher education institutions usually have their own form of financial aid. They may also provide counseling regarding education information. Though a FASFA is essential to be eligible for a school based financial program, schools too have their own paperwork to be filled up. The deadlines for such programs too are fairly early and thus as soon as you decide to join an institution, you must make enquiries about the financial programs offered and the application procedures. The paper work for this kind of loan may require some personal information too, so it is best to be prepared.
States too offer certain financial aid programs such as low –interest loans, loan forgiveness incentives and career based loans. Like School Based Loans, these loans to require you to complete your FAFSA and additional paperwork. These loans, being partially funded by the state, have lower interest rates than private loans. Thus spending those extra hours on their tedious application processes do pay off. Furthermore, if you are a student planning to join a field that has a high demand for workers, you are very likely to find all or part of your loan forgiven.
Private Student Loans
Private student education loans do not need an FAFASA. The application process is thus usually simpler. Since private loans are offered by profit maximizing bodies like banks, your ability to get favorable terms depends largely on your credit scores. These student loans tips have relatively higher interest rates than federal, state funded or school loans. Though these should not ideally be your first option, they are still a valid way of funding your higher education.
The Bottom Line
The student loan tips may helps to take application process easily, find out all the deadlines, get all documents ready and proceed with applications in a methodical order. Best of luck for your applications!