Choosing a college is an exciting time for students and their families. Traditionally, the National College Decision Day has always been May 1, but in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many colleges have extended their decision deadlines to give admitted students more time to research before making their final college choice.
After making a college decision, what should students and parents do next? Here are some important items for your checklist:
Fill out the FAFSA
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a requirement to apply for federal, state or college financial aid. This includes federal student loans, which are the most affordable type of student loans for many borrowers. Many scholarships and grants also require a completed FAFSA form. Not sure if you or your student will qualify for financial aid? You might be surprised! It's best to file an application as soon as possible, but it's not too late to start the FAFSA if you haven't already.
Explore options to fill gaps in financial aid
Even with financial aid and scholarships, students might still have expenses to cover for tuition, room and board, textbooks, fees and supplies. A few options to consider are private no annual fee Student Loans, flexible-term Personal Loans and affordable Home Equity Lines of Credit.
Continue to save
Parents can continue to save for education costs throughout their kids' college careers. For example, the Ohio College Advantage 529 Savings Plan provides a number of tax benefits that can help parents maximize their savings and tackle college costs.
Students might consider getting a summer job or applying for a part-time job on their college campus to earn extra money and help pay for college expenses. Getting a part-time job can help students budget for daily college life and gain valuable life experience.
Choosing a college is a big decision and the first step to achieving the dream of higher education. At Wright-Patt Credit Union (WPCU), we want to make it easier for students and families to plan for a great college experience and start college on the right financial track!
From smart spending to saving for college-related expenses to filling the tuition gaps that aid and savings may leave behind, WPCU is here to help. To learn more about our student loan products and how they can help you pay for school, visit WPCU.StudentChoice.org.