When it comes to paying for college, many parents and students may end up spending more than necessary because they made some common mistakes when seeking financial aid. Follow these tips from the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) to make sure you get the help you need.

Many students miss out on money for college simply because they do not apply for it. Apply for every grant and scholarship you can, since you do not have to pay back most grants and scholarships.

Even if you do not think you will qualify for federal student aid programs, submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Many states and colleges use the information from the FAFSA to determine if you are eligible for other aid programs. Not filing may hurt your 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. If you wait too late, you may miss out.

When you are accepted by a college, you will receive a financial aid package. Look at it carefully before you accept it. If you have received offers from more than one school, compare the offers to see which one is the best deal. In some cases, you may be able to negotiate a better package.

If you need loans to help pay for college, be a good consumer. Apply for federal student loans before applying for private loans. Not all private lenders offer the same rates and benefits. Pay close attention to what lenders call the back-end benefits: the interest rate and principal reductions offered when you begin to repay the loan.

To find links to other useful education websites, go to www.gotocollege.ky.gov. For more information about Kentucky scholarships and grants, visit www.kheaa.com; write KHEAA, P.O. Box 798, Frankfort, KY 40602; or call 800-928-8926, ext. 6-7372.




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