With the unsteadiness of today’s economy and the amount of people getting laid off, more and more people are looking at what they can do to improve their quality of life, and employment! Many people are choosing to go back to school because they have the free time now but also because they are tired of putting everything into a job that won’t put anything back into them. Here we’ll put together some student loan tips for you to help you get started and to be able to take advantage of the different types of financial aid that is out there.

With the record number of layoffs and unemployment rates, students that weren’t eligible for financial aid then could be now. The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) should be filled out every year even if you think you won’t qualify.

Financial aid applications have deadlines and they should always be met. Different colleges have different deadlines it’s up to you to keep on top of the dates. If you miss the date, the schools hands are tied and they will not be able to help you.

Family Contributions
The amount that your family can contribute basically means how much money the parents can add to help offset the expenses of college. This amount is determined by the college and based on the information that was provided in the FAFSA any other financial aid forms that were turned in. The family contribution is given in a dollar amount but not all the time is how much a family will pay. The amounts can vary from college to college.

Total Costs of College
One of the biggest mistakes future students make is that they don’t sit down and figure out how much money they need ahead of time. Being ahead of the game is half the battle. You’ll need to calculate up costs for textbooks, supplies, and anything else you might need on top of the tuition.

Eligibility vs. Need
If a student is eligible for a Pell grant, the school must and will give out all of the funds to you. This doesn’t mean though that you are automatically eligible for any other types of aid. The best thing about the Pell grant is that they don’t have to be paid back!

Need based and Merit based
Merit based is only concerned with a students academic performance whereas need based is based on the student’s or student’s families financial circumstances.

Types of financial aid
There are many different types of financial aid for students. It’s important for you to be very versed in what they are and which ones you can qualify for. The reason I’m saying this is because sometimes not all the options are laid out for you when you visit a school. The areas to be aware of are the federal student loans, private student loans, scholarships, and grants.

Appealing the award
If you were denied any type of financial aid and then something changes in your or your parent’s financial status, you should contact the financial-aid office and explain your case. Most of the counselors will do their best to assist you when times change.

What you just read is only scratching the surface of the different options you might have. Don’t get discouraged and keep trying. Multiple small loans and scholarships are just as powerful as a large one so it all depends on how bad you want to be in school.