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Things Not To Do When Applying For Financial Assistance

By Melinda Proctor

Getting help financially by means of a student loan is quite common for college students these days. It can be confusing and long-winded the first time around, especially for college freshmen applying for aid. Mistakes will be made, and there are a few gaffes that can easily be avoided, yet lead to lesser monetary amounts approved, if anything at all. Let’s get to find out what these five errors are, to better inform you on the whole process.

Application Form Not Filled Out – Always, always, ALWAYS make sure to fill out the application form! There are some students who don’t, and as a result, won’t be eligible for any form of government-related student loan or grant.

Late Submission of Documents – Just like homework assignments, student loan applications need to be submitted on time and as soon as possible. Rely on your income tax form, as this would contain some information that can help you properly fill out your FAFSA form.

Lack of Scholarship Awareness – Many students don’t realize they may be eligible after all for a scholarship. There are many national scholarships that can be found with a simple Internet search.

The Internet isn’t the only place where you can find scholarship grants. Making a few quick inquiries to local retailers, national chain stores, banks and restaurants could uncover a lot of opportunities. Your nearby store, in fact, may have funds available to help students with their tuition. You can also ask civic clubs like the Retired Teachers Association, the Kiwanis or Optimist Club if they have scholarships to offer.

Missing Out On The Fine Print – Aside from combing through the list of financial aid options, take note of the clauses in each one of the offers, because this could be very important. Payback requirements and interest rates are just among the many pieces of information you’ll find in the fine print. For example, you may learn about Stafford loans, or ask to choose between unsubsidized and subsidized loans. Research on unfamiliar words or terms used, and don’t ignore the fine print.

Using A Credit Card – Don’t make the mistake of using your credit card to pay for your tuition fee, if you find all those legal terms on the FAFSA too confusing. This could run up finance charges if you’re not used to paying in full, which is often the case for students. It’s all well and good if you pay your entire balance every month, but this isn’t common given a student’s normal lifestyle. A credit card is not an ideal payment option for your college tuition.

Research is undoubtedly important, and this is what college students and their families need to do first and foremost to stay clear of these mistakes. It’s actually quite easy to avoid these mistakes – just do your research if needed.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Proctor, Melinda "Things Not To Do When Applying For Financial Assistance." Things Not To Do When Applying For Financial Assistance. 22 Aug. 2010. 27 Jul 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Proctor, M (2010, August 22). Things Not To Do When Applying For Financial Assistance. Retrieved July 27, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Proctor, Melinda "Things Not To Do When Applying For Financial Assistance"

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