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Financial Aid Tips for College

Education is priceless! Having a degree can allow you to make more money over your lifetime. During your college journey, finances can be overwhelming. Below are a few helpful hints in financial decision making.

Financial Aid Do’s:

  • Work to make sound financial choices.
  • Apply for FAFSA/TAFSA and other scholarships early.
    • The FAFSA/TAFSA must be filed each year and can be done beginning on Oct. 1. Filing early can assist in getting all the money you need.
  • Apply for full/part-time employment and work-study jobs.
  • Create a budget.
    • This helps you see how your money is being used. Planning in advance can help you sidestep impulse purchases.
  • Learn more about Direct Loans, including information about borrowing them and paying them back.
    • The standard timeframe to repay student loans is ten years or more. Avoiding damaging education debt is possible.
  • Make a plan for where you will live.
    • Living at home or sharing expenses with a roommate can save tons of money.
  • Open a savings account.
    • Many banks offer special, low fee accounts for college students to help you save for the future. Saving something — even a small amount — can be better than saving nothing.
  • Did you know you can rent, borrow or share textbooks?
    • There are many options available to rent textbooks or buy them used. Sometimes the campus library will have a copy of a textbook on reserve. You can copy the pages you need.

Financial Aid Don’ts

  • Don’t eat out too often.
    • Bring your coffee and lunch from home. Learn how to cook for yourself. Fast food can ruin your budget and your health.
  • Don’t miss class due to transportation. Know your options!
    • Getting to class is vital to attendance and your success in the course. There are DART stops at all DCCCD campuses. Find out if you qualify for a DART GoPass. You also may want to consider avoiding car payments by buying a cash car or carpooling.
  • Don’t take credit card offers.
    • Many credit card companies have special offers for college students. Wait until you graduate and have a full-time job before you consider getting a credit card.
  • Don’t get stuck in a payday loan, which is worse than having a credit card.
    • They may seem like a short-term solution, but payday lenders charge incredibly high interest rates. The trap of high interest loans you can’t pay off can become a bigger burden.