Avoid Common Student Financial Aid Mistakes

Many students spend more for college than they should because they’ve made some common mistakes when seeking financial aid.

Some people don’t bother to apply for financial aid because they don’t think they’ll qualify. But all students should submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to find out if they’re eligible for state and federal student aid programs. Not filing may hurt a student’s chances of getting more free money for college.

Another common mistake is waiting until the last minute to apply for financial aid. Some programs have deadlines, while others have limited funds.

Colleges send each student who has applied for student aid a financial-aid package. Students and their families should look it over carefully and compare offers from more than one school to see which is the best deal. Of course, families must consider other factors, such as whether a school offers the academic program a student wants, or if it meets other expectations.

Students who need loans to help pay for college must be good consumers. Not all lenders offer the same rates and benefits. Borrowers should pay close attention to what lenders call the back-end benefits: the interest rate and principal reductions offered when repaying the loan.

The Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) is a public, non-profit agency established in 1966 to improve students’ access to college. It provides information about financial aid and financial literacy at no cost to students and parents. For information about Advantage Education Loans through KHEAA, visit www.advantageeducationloan.com.