What I Wish I Had Known: Financial Aid

What I Wish I Had Known: Financial Aid

If you come from a big family like I do, you may be in need of Financial Aid to attend college.  My parents were nice enough to pay for one semester of my college, but with four other kids, it was too expensive to pay for all four years.  So I did what a lot of kids do; I applied for financial aid.

Financial aid is a great service, but if used unwisely, it could come back to haunt you.  I was offered more than enough financial aid each semester, but didn’t realize I didn’t have to accept all of it.  At the time I was really excited and sort of thought of it as free money.  However, that’s not the case, you do have to pay it all back.

If I’d known then what I do now, I would have accepted just the amount to cover my tuition and books.  I worked throughout college, but definitely didn’t work as much as I could have some semesters, knowing I had financial aid money. 

If you have a tough semester, it might be wise to work less and take more financial aid.  This may work to your advantage if you can consolidate your loan money later at a nice low rate.  If your semester isn’t too tough and you can work without your grades suffering, I’d suggest you take the minimum aid to help you get through the semester.  Trust me, you’ll be thankful when the bill comes and you have to start repaying your loan. 

When I was in college; I didn’t really ever think about having to repay anything.  I think I was living in some alternate reality where the bill never comes.  Trust me, the bill will come.  College goes by fast, but repaying student loans can last forever if you aren’t financially responsible.

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