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Navigating Financial Aid: A Tarleton State Financial Assistance Counselor Weighs In

Sep 14, 2017 06:10PM ● Published by Melanie Heisinger

Applying for financial aid can be a tricky task to maneuver. It can be even more difficult if it is for beginners. We recently wrote about it in our article, "6 Tips for Decoding College Financial Aid Award Letters," but we couldn't help but want to learn a little bit more. 

Luckily, Nancy Perez, Financial Assistance Counselor with Tarleton State University, was able to answer a few of our financial aid questions. Read on to get a few tips from an expert. 

A lot of college students file for financial aid. What's the best way to manage this?

Know your priority deadlines, I see many students miss out on aid because they did not turn something in on time.

There is often a lot of paperwork. Are there any tips you have for approaching this process?

Start early! Paperwork can take time to process, and in most cases you cannot receive aid monies until the paperwork is completed. 

When submitting the paperwork make sure that all of the requested documentation is there. If you need help, ask. We know that Financial Aid can be difficult to maneuver through, that is why your Financial Aid office is there to help you.

What's the best way to stay on top of the progress once everything is submitted?

Check in with your Financial Aid office. They will be able to give you an update on the progress.

PRO TIP:  Be patient. Once everything is submitted, give it time to process. I have students call me as soon as they press submit to check their aid. It can take about 48 hours for your FAFSA to get to us.

Once accepted, what's the best way to manage it? 

Before accepting your aid, especially loans, take into consideration all of your educational cost and borrow only what you need!

At most schools, your financial aid will pay out to your student bill first know what day that is for your school.

You might be getting more financial aid money than what your student bill states, if so, you will then be receiving a refund. My advice for your refund is to put away the money you will need for next semester.

Do you have any tips for incoming students & families filing for financial aid?

  • File your FAFSA on time!
  • Apply for the FAFSA even if you think you will not receive aid.
  • Talk to your Financial Aid Counselor, we are here to help you navigate through the financial aid world.

Anything else we need to know?

FAFSA opens up October 1st and will require you to use 2016 Tax information.

Also, always apply for scholarships! If you do not the answer will always be “No”.

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