Sunday, March 29, 2009

The 4 Rules of Paying for College in a Recession

Post By: Dana Sunderlin

Luckily, we've put together advice from financial aid experts—including lots of parents who managed to pay tuition without going bankrupt. A basic primer to financial aid can be found here.

While every student and family is unique, there are four principles that apply to everybody:

1. Grades matter more than ever. The better the student, the more college options the student will have and the more likely it is the student will receive scholarships or win admission to a low-cost school. Students in states such as Georgia, Tennessee, New Mexico, and Florida, with grade-based scholarships, particularly stand to benefit. Parents wanting to motivate their sophomores and juniors can direct them to college websites such as this one, this one, or here. Each of these sites clearly shows the reality that the better the grades and test scores, the bigger the scholarship. Spend a few extra hours studying, bring your grade point average up a point or two, and it could pay off in tens of thousands of dollars.

2. Early birds will get more scholarship worms . Next fall's high school seniors need to start applying for scholarships AND admission to low-cost schools in the early autumn—before November 30. And they need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid as soon as possible each January, because some aid is handed out on a first-come, first-served basis.

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