Almost every student is eligible for one form of financial aid or another. All you have to do is ask. The financial aid office in every college or university is set up to help you discover which kinds of financial aid are best for you. Stop by, or call and make an appointment to go in, and ask.
LeQuita Foster, a financial aid officer at Arkansas State University Mountain Home, says, "Ask us or you might miss out on a lot of stuff."
Foster advises starting your search for financial aid in the middle of February or as soon as you finish your taxes. You'll need your tax statements to apply.
"It's best to have it all done by July 1," Foster says.
She also advises to start early in applying for scholarships.
"Apply for every scholarship you can find," she says.
Every year, Foster has to ask teachers at ASUMH to nominate students for several scholarships because nobody applied. They all say they thought the competition would be too fierce.
Lottery scholarships in the states that offer them are for every citizen of that state. Check it out. Most states have a universal application for any kind of financial aid the state offers. You'll find the application at your local state university.
Foster also advises students not to pay anybody to help them find financial aid.
"You can find it free," she says, "and most of the time through us," meaning your college financial aid office.
The first thing your financial aid office will ask you, or help you, to do is to fill out the FAFSA application.