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Financial Aid for College Students: Little Known Secrets for Getting More Money Posted on:Friday, February 28th, 2014


Right now, you are probably freaking out about how to pay for college. You have been navigating your way through the application process, only to ponder – “What if I can’t afford college?” It is a scary feeling and understandably so – this is one of the tensest times in the entire process! Perhaps you already know a bit about financial aid and a little thing called the FAFSA… and perhaps you have brushed it off. Though you may think you can’t afford college, here is why you can’t afford NOT to fill out the aforementioned FAFSA: Did you know that in 2010 alone, the federal government handed out $133.8 billion in financial aid for needy students?

There is money out there for YOU!

There are two types of financial aid – need-based and merit-based. You may be saying, “I don’t NEED financial aid” or “My GPA sucks”, but I assure you, regardless of your situation, that there is money out there waiting for you to claim. Here are some little known secrets on boosting your financial aid:


Your GPA will certainly help get you into college, but it can also help you pay for college! Yes, I am being Captain Obvious right now, but maintaining a high GPA is one surefire way to be considered for a grant or scholarship through a college or another organization. AND, because colleges often award merit-based aid to their best students, you can strategically apply to colleges where your GPA is in the top percentile.

But wait!

A high GPA is not the only way to get a payout. A high SAT score, excelling in a sport, or even having the diversity that a college desires are a few other ways that can help you receive more aid. Research potential colleges for this type of information – try College Navigator for educational statistics and how they compare to you.


The FAFSA (or Free Application for Federal Student Aid) exists to help make college affordable, especially for low-income students. This application determines your eligibility for need-based financial aid. Completing the FAFSA properly is crucial in the amount of money you can receive. Here are a few key tips:

  • Don’t report unnecessary information – Be careful not to report information such as retirement accounts, home equity, or a business with less than 100 employees. Information like this is not required and could potentially hurt your chances at getting the most financial aid.
  • Include a supplementary letter for special circumstances – While over-sharing unnecessary information is not recommended, including information regarding special circumstances such as a job lay-off or medical expenses can actually help you receive more aid.
  • Never leave a blank – If you are unsure about a question or if you feel it does not apply to you, do not leave the answer field blank. Instead, put a zero (“0”) or “not applicable” in the answer field. This ensures that your application is filled out completely and is unlikely to be miscalculated or rejected due to too many blank spaces.

For more FAFSA filing tips, check out these articles:

10 Ways to Boost Financial Aid

Maximize College Financial Aid

The deadline to file a FAFSA is quickly approaching (March 2nd in California) so DON’T DELAY! If you fail to complete a FAFSA, you are only harming your chances in receiving ANY type of financial aid. So be proactive in your quest for money – head over to FAFSA RIGHT NOW to get that application in. 

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