Stretch Your Dollar: What you need to know about financial aid

(WTNH / Tina Detelj)

(WTNH)– It’s October and while students see the fall as back to school time, it’s also an important time to plan for your future. This morning we are stretching your dollar with what you need to know about financial aid.

Students are already back in the classroom studying for exams but for those planning to attend college next year, the time is now to pay some attention to the future as well.

Ashley Coleman is a Senior Scholars Advisor for Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC), a nonprofit, who said the FAFSA form became available to fill out on October 1 and it’s important students jump on the opportunity early so you are awarded as much as you can. College isn’t cheap.

“Aside from the tuition, there’s living expenses, whether or not you live on or off campus, most on-campus living arrangements require you purchase a meal plan which is an additional cost, You have to think about travel to and from home and school,” said Coleman.

If it’s your first time, closely read the fine print on your award letter, so you’re not caught off guard by changes in years to come.

“For freshman year, they may offer you “x” amount of dollars and it may look really good to you, but you want to pay attention to the fine print because that number may look drastically different for your sophomore, junior and senior year, so ask questions,” said Coleman.
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The earlier you apply, the sooner you’ll know how much money you’re awarded. You can then get a head start on scholarships. May sure to check your high school college of choice and even your own community for money-saving opportunities.

“Your community organizations, your churches provide scholarships, even your place of employment is a wonderful place to look,” said Coleman.

She also suggests visiting the collegeabacus.org to get a better understanding of how much school will cost you spending on where you want to go.

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