It’s not too late to get financial aid for college
Summer jobs, trips to the lake and mountain biking fill the days of many college-bound students. Some have applied to their colleges of choice, mapped out financial aid and chosen a field of study. For those, congratulations are in order.
Many others have plunked down into mid-summer unsure of where they will be this fall. Feeling that high school’s busy schedules precluded thinking further down the pike, they are now faced with a short six to eight weeks until registration lines form for college classes. For those, the most daunting prospect may not be considering “What will I be when I grow up?” but “How will I pay for college so I can figure out what I want to be?”
A college fund isn’t built from a few summer-job paychecks alone.
With summer slipping by, is it too late to apply for college and have a check to pay for it waiting in the financial aid office when you get there?
No, not yet, but act quickly.
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Financial aid applications flow freely during August, when panic sets in for many students. They realize their summer jobs are almost over, serious jobs aren’t knocking on the door and they think, “I need to do something!”
Schools find there’s always a late rush for financial aid.
While some colleges have policies setting aside money for late applicants, that is not something to depend upon. Colorado Mountain College, as an example, awards its funds on a first-come, first-served basis. While you can register for classes at CMC anytime, most scholarships and grants already have names on them. Students may request placement on a waiting list for funds, in case a student with approved aid decides not to attend.
It’s best to check with the financial aid office at your college of choice to find out what your options are. It is never too late to apply for Pell grants or loans because they are entitlement programs. Students who are qualified get these monies. There are also lenders that make alternative loans, and financial aid officers will know about these.
To determine eligibility for financial aid, students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid anytime during the year. The fastest way to do this is online at fafsa.ed.gov. You can also check fastweb.com for scholarships.
You need to apply at least four weeks in advance to obtain loans or Pell grants before school starts. You can apply later, but your money won’t come in until after the semester starts. In that case, you will have to pay the educational charges upfront yourself ” or have a visit with grandma.
Gary Lewis is the director of financial aid for Colorado Mountain College. If you have any questions about obtaining financial aid for college, contact him at 945-8691.
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