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The 10 Best Tips You Need To Help Pay For College
Especially when you never thought you would have to apply for financial aid.

1. Do not self-determine that you are ineligible for any kind of federal, state, or institutional financial aid. Submit all financial aid applications. Check with your college financial aid office for specific application forms and required steps.

2. The FAFSA application can be completed at FAFSA.gov, and it is a free application.

3. The FAFSA will ask for tax information from two years ago, even though you are no longer employed. Go ahead and list your income from the two prior tax years, as required, but later you will file an appeal letter documenting your current financial reality. There is no place to write an appeal on the FAFSA form so you will have to write a separate letter, with documentation to the college financial aid office.

4. If your student was offered a merit scholarship by the school, ask for additional merit scholarship funds due to the loss of income, especially if the student will be attending a public out-of-state institution.

5. Are you separated from your spouse? If so, for FAFSA filing, only include the income of the parent that the dependent child lives with more than half time. You do not have to be legally separated or divorced.

6. You should always shop and compare all federal, state, college, and private loan opportunities. For federal and state loan programs, you will still need to complete a FAFSA.

7. If there are other relatives in the household besides a spouse and children that are dependent on the family and reside in the household such as grandparents, make sure to include them in the total number of dependents in living in the household.

8. If there any health costs not covered by insurance, make sure to list them when you submit your letter of appeal, with documentation.

9. If a parent decides to go back to college, at least half-time, tell the financial aid office. They might consider counting the parent as an additional family member in college possibly resulting in additional financial aid.

10. Run, don’t walk, virtually to the college financial aid office for immediate guidance. Follow-up and follow-through.

Carl Buck
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