3 Simple Steps for Making College More Affordable

Better Your Chances at Scholarships, Receive More Financial Aid, And Find the Colleges that Pay Out the Most Free Money… Here’s How to Do It.

Sorting through the piles of admissions material, logging thousands of miles of travel for open houses, worrying about SAT scores and report cards…

It’s a wonder any of us have time to actually seek out a good deal when it comes to paying for college.

But in the midst of the college admissions whirlwind you’re probably caught up in, there are a few easy ways to ensure your student’s college tuition is as affordable as possible.

It comes down to three core tasks.

1. Learning the right way to go after scholarships.

2. Learning how to taking advantage of every college funding strategy available that could potentially lower your college costs by thousands of dollars.

3. Selecting the colleges that give you the most money – more free money and fewer loans.

How much success you have reaching these goals will play a huge role in how much you pay for college.

Let’s take a look at each one…

Scholarships: When, How and Where

If your student is a candidate for scholarship money, don’t make the mistake of thinking that a simple application and transcript is all it takes.

There’s definitely an art to applying for scholarship funds.

WHEN: The earlier the better. The earliest deadlines for scholarships are in October and most are due at the latest by March.

Remember, that money follows you wherever you go. So don’t think you have to have a school chosen before applying. It spends the same way at any college.

If you miss a scholarship deadline, you’re often times out of luck. So get those applications in ASAP. That way if you have any errors or changes you need to make, you still have some wiggle room. Waiting until the last minute leaves you no margin for error.

Above all, remember that most scholarship money is first come, first served. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. So beat the rush, get there early and get as much of it as you can.

WHERE: Choosing the right scholarship to apply for is like looking for a date on eHarmony. There’s going to be good matches and bad matches. Don’t waste your time with the bad ones.

The best way to find the perfect match is to make a list of your academic, athletic or extracurricular qualifications. Then find the grants that you stand the best chance of winning based off of that.

Even if the money is great with the other scholarships, it doesn’t pay to spend time trying to compete when there are other applicants far better suited.

HOW: Knowing the rules of a particular college’s financial aid office are key when it comes to scholarship money.

Some will take any grants you win and subtract them from financial aid packages. Some will deduct them from student loans or work study programs. And some will even let you subtract the scholarship amount from your expected family contribution.

That means more financial aid for you!

Know the rules and you could be swinging thousands of dollars in savings your way.

(In Part 2, I go over Steps II and III: how to maximize the amount of funding you get… and how to find the colleges that give out the most cash.)

Kind Regards,

Scott Weingold
Publisher, CollegeMadeSimple.com

Related Articles:
When, How and Where to Apply for Scholarships
How to Make College Cheaper: Part 1 – Scholarships
How to Pick a College That’ll Give You the Best Financial Aid Package

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Editor's Note: Scott Weingold has been ranked the #1 “College Financial Aid Expert Worth Knowing About” in the entire country by CollegeStats.org.  He has co-authored the book, “The Real Secret To Paying For College. The Insider’s Guide To Sending Your Child To College – Without Spending Your Life’s Savings.” Scott also publishes a popular free online newsletter, “College Funding Made Simple" which reveals insider’s tips, methods, and strategies for beating the high cost of college.

Scott is the co-founder and a principal of the widely renown College Planning Network, LLC – the nation’s largest and most reputable college admissions and financial aid planning firm. CPN is a proud member of the Better Business Bureau, the National Association of College Funding Advisors, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Scott, along with his college funding advisory team, helps thousands of families throughout the country with their college planning needs and offers a series of free educational webinars and workshops on “How To Pay For College Without Going Broke In The Process!” He's been featured or mentioned in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Yahoo News, TheStreet.com, Voice America with Ron Adams, Crains Cleveland Business, and on Cleveland Connection with James McIntyre.  Scott has published numerous articles and is a professional speaker who has addressed thousands of audiences online and offline throughout the United States.  His actionable insights and candid, open approach have earned him & his team numerous media interviews, citations, and speaking opportunities, and his free online video workshop is one of the Internet’s most widely viewed pieces in the college funding space.