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Five Common Financial Aid Pitfalls to Avoid

Preparing for college requires a lot of decision-making – from choosing a major, to deciding between traditional and online colleges. But for most students, deciding whether to apply for financial assistance is a no-brainer, as student financial aid is often a necessary step in paying for higher education.

In order to receive federal or state financial aid, you need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The application might seem intimidating, but as long as you are aware of the common pitfalls, tackling the application process should be a breeze. Here are five mistakes to avoid in order to be sure that you receive the best financial aid package possible.  

1. Pay attention to deadlines.

First and foremost, be aware of deadlines – if you don’t apply for financial aid in time, you might miss out entirely. If you’re enrolling in college for the 2015-2016 school year, the FAFSA deadline is June 30, 2015. Deadlines for state funding will vary, so make sure to verify the deadline for your state at www.fafsa.ed.go/deadlines.htm. You also need to check with your college for their financial aid program deadlines.

2. Apply early.

Schools generally distribute financial aid funds on a first-come, first-served basis. Apply early to make sure you get as much financial aid as possible. Once their annual funds are gone, they’re gone, so don’t wait until the last minute.

3. Make sure you have the correct form.

This may seem like common sense, but many people make the simple error of selecting the wrong FAFSA form. If you are applying to receive student financial aid in order to start school in the fall of 2015, you need to complete the 2015-2016 form, not the 2014-2015 form.

4. Be thorough.

Be sure to fill out your application with care and accuracy. Errors and skipped questions on your application will delay its approval. Additionally, if you receive financial aid due to incorrect information on your FAFSA form, you are legally required to pay it back. It is important to pay attention to detail so that you do not make a costly error.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

If you have questions about the FAFSA or run into a problem while filling out your application, call the financial aid office at your college of interest. Financial Aid office employees are knowledgeable about the FAFSA process and are more than willing to help you with your application.

At Bryant & Stratton College Online you will have access to several types of student financial aid programs. Financial advisors are available to help all students in identifying what types of financial aid they may qualify for and filling out applications. To get more information about the online degree programs offered at Bryant & Stratton College Online, or to speak with a financial aid advisor, call 1.888.447.3528.

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