Picture yourself moving to college next fall: unpacking, organizing your dorm, meeting your roommate, learning your way around campus. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to focus on these things because you already know how you will cover your first semester’s tuition?
In order to keep things running smoothly next fall, you’ll want to get organized now. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Meet with your school counselor. Your school counselor is a great place to start learning about your financial aid options. Ask about local scholarship opportunities that might be available to you.
Keep track of scholarship deadlines. November is National Scholarship Month, so this is the perfect time to get started searching for scholarships if you haven’t already. As you come across scholarships that you want to apply for, be sure to note the deadlines and keep track of them on a master calendar so you don’t miss any opportunities.
Attend a financial aid night. If your school hosts a financial aid night, be sure to attend – and ask your parents to join you. These nights are a great way to learn more and ask questions about financial aid options that are available to you.
Have a family talk about finances. Make sure you and your parents are on the same page about who’s paying for what when it comes to college costs. Are your parents covering any part of your tuition? Will you be expected to get a job during the school year? Take time to talk it out so there are no surprises next year.
Complete the FAFSA in January. The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Schools use this form to award most types of financial aid, so you and your parents should complete this application together as soon as possible after January 1.
Review your award letters. The schools you’re considering will send an award letter that lists the financial aid you’re eligible to receive. Evaluate the award letters carefully to determine what your actual college costs will look like.
Explore student loan options. If you need extra funding to cover your education costs, carefully compare all your options. There are government and private financing options available to help cover the gap.
For more information and tips on the financial aid process, be sure to watch our Financial Aid Journey in 5 Steps videos at wellsfargo.com/fivesteps. Mr. Fellows will help you through the financial aid process so you can understand the options available to help you pay for college.
How does your family handle paying for college? Share your tips and ideas with us on The Wells Fargo Community.