As high school seniors diligently work their way through their first Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), parents should be monitoring where their children are in the college funding process so they can help plan accordingly.
NextStudent, the Phoenix-based premier education funding company, offers a wide array of online financial planning tools to help students and their families wade through the waters of college financial planning.
Financial Aid Calendar
The first step in the process is to be aware of what is expected of you as a student and as a parent. Even though it’s April, check the Financial Aid Calendar (http://www.nextstudent.com/financial_aid_advisor/financial_aid_calendar/financial_aid_calendar.asp) to double check where you are in the process and keep on track. This also is the perfect time for high school seniors to get a jump-start on next year and see what will be expected of them as college-bound seniors.
Search for Free Money
The college funding cycle begins with the search for scholarships, or “Free Money.” Local and national scholarships are an important avenue to explore because they can help cut the costs of financial aid that has to be repaid. NextStudent’s FREE Scholarship Search Directory (http://www.nextstudent.com/directory-of-scholarships/) has a total of 2.4 million scholarships from 42,000 funding sources with total awards of $3.4 billion.
Financial Aid Guided Tour
For another in-depth look on what to expect when applying for financial aid from a NextStudent Financial Aid Advisor, take NextStudent’s “Financial Aid Advisor: The Guided Tour (http://www.nextstudent.com/financial_aid_tutorial/financial_aid_tutorial.asp)”.
Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions
If students and parents have specific questions regarding financial aid and their best options, find the answers in NextStudent’s Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions (http://www.nextstudent.com/tools_and_resources/faq.asp).
As high school seniors all across the country begin receiving their acceptance letters and have completed their FAFSA forms, they will begin to receive “Award Letters” from each of the schools to which they have been accepted. These letters will explain the type of aid and amounts for which they qualify.
At this time, students and their parents should begin work on or revisit their college-budget and just how much they will be responsible to pay in the coming year. NextStudent’s FREE College Budget Calculator (http://www.nextstudent.com/tools_and_resources/calculators/college_budget.asp) can assist in refining the college budget and establishing how much additional money students will need.
Both Stafford student loans and Parent PLUS Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) are available through NextStudent. Because individualized service is a top priority at NextStudent, every customer is personally assigned an Education Finance Advisor to guide students through the student loan process from start to finish. If students and parents find that there is a gap in their education funding, NextStudent also offers private student loans with borrowing limits of up to $40,000 annually.
NextStudent believes that getting an education is the best investment you can make, and it is dedicated to helping you pursue your education dreams by making college funding simple. Learn more about Student Loans, Private Student Loans, and Student Loan Consolidation at NextStudent.com.