There are a few critical items you absolutely must do to keep up with college and financial aid deadlines this summer.
Since the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is on a first-come first-served basis, and could mean free money, don’t procrastinate. Federal FAFSA online applications for the 2015-2016 school year must be submitted by June 30, 2016 with corrections or updates due by September 17, 2016.
State and college deadlines may differ and could be due as early as January 2015. Check with your high school guidance counselor, or your college financial aid advisor for deadline details. The FAFSA is available online at: https://fafsa.ed.gov.
Make the most of your academic breaks
Unwinding after the school year is complete is necessary, but summertime and breaks between college semesters can be an optimum preparation time for:
- Studying for SAT’s. Check out our blog on books that can help you prepare for the SATs
- Weighing your college options through research, or perhaps visiting the campus of your top picks. This post will help get you started.
- Saving money for college. Some students pick up a summer or part-time job for extra cash or choose a work study program when applying for financial aid. Additionally, make the most of your time when searching for scholarships, grants and fellowships. Remember that several smaller scholarships could calculate to be about the same amount as that larger, more well-known scholarship that might have more competition.
Consolidating loans after graduation
Congratulations on making it through (or, nearly making it through) your college degree program and graduating. Now is the time you might be reviewing your student loans and thinking about a plan of attack for repayment. If you have various loans from different sources it may be beneficial for you to look into a consolidation loan program.
A consolidation loan allows you to combine your multiple loans into one loan. The benefit of a consolidation loan is that you will have one lender to work with on repayment. You will need to compare your interest rates, term and benefits to see what makes the most sense for you.
Generally you will also need to handle your private and federal loans separately by consolidating private loans with a private lender and federal loans through a federal loan program. To find out more about the federal student loan consolidation program, visit The U.S. Department of Education.
To find out more about your federal loans visit, The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).