If you are looking for college funding sources, the first thing you need to do is fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form (FAFSA). This is the form used to apply for all types of state, college and federal grants, scholarships and student loans. You will receive a report showing the amount your family will contribute towards your college education. The financial FAFSA office in your college of choice also uses this report to determine your eligibility and calculate your financial aid package.
If you want to improve your options and the total amount of funding you receive, you need to be careful when selecting the college you wish to attend for the overall FAFSA application process. You can also request a review of your funding package if you feel that it is less than the total amount you deserve based on your family’s situation or other economic factors.
Excelling in academics and other extracurricular activities will improve your chances of funding. Throughout your high school career, strive to achieve above average grades and test scores so you will be able to meet the standards for merit based scholarship programs. Most colleges and universities have personal finance options for the best performers but you have to maintain top grades throughout to qualify for the scholarship programs every year.
If you excel in a certain sport or any other extracurricular area, this can increase your chances of winning scholarships and financial funding as it makes you stand out from the rest of the applicants. You will also be eligible for athletic scholarships and other special programs.
Your choice of college will also affect the college financial aid you get. If you are willing to pursue your studies anywhere, consider enrolling in colleges and universities located in more remote locales. You may find that these colleges and universities charge lower and offer more attractive college financial aid options to attract more students. You will also face less competition in these colleges than if you were to attend popular and competitive colleges such as Harvard. It is also not wise to ignore private colleges altogether. Some of these are willing to make significant tuition fee reductions especially if you are an above average student.