Need Financial Aid for College? Butler University Expert Offers Tips to Consider
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
Now is the time when families should be thinking about financial aid for college. Tom Weede, vice president of enrollment management at Butler University, offers four tips for getting the best financial aid package: apply; be prepared; don’t be afraid of loans; and think about a campus job.
1. Apply. “It’s amazing how many people we talk to each year who think they’ll never get anything,” Weede said. “We urge people to apply.”
He points out that schools are able to look at a wide variety of sources for financial aid – scholarships and grants from the federal and state governments and the college or university you’re applying to – in one stop.
“The financing of college has long been based on the idea that a family will pay what it can and then other sources – the government, institutions and private sources – can help with financial aid,” Weede said.
2. Be prepared. The form families must file is FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, available online at fafsa.ed.gov. “Most of the time, we want to see incoming freshmen file the form by mid-February,” Weede said. “Returning students can wait until early March.”
For best results, Weede recommends completing the family tax return before filling out the FAFSA form. That way, you’ll have the best, most accurate information available to complete the FAFSA form.
Weede also advised students and families to avoid paying a consultant to find sources of financial aid or file financial aid forms for you.
“If you file the FAFSA, we’re going to essentially give you the same information for free,” Weede said.
3. Don’t be afraid of loans. “We sometimes hear from students who only want scholarships or grants,” Weede said. “We think, in general, that a reasonable amount of loans is a very good thing for students to take to finance some of their education because it gives them a chance to contribute to their own education.”
4. Think about an on-campus job. “When you work off-campus, it can be problematic,” Weede said. “The busiest time of year for most jobs is the period before Christmas. The busiest time of a student’s first semester is the period before finals. If you’re working on campus, you’ll have an employer who’s understanding. We don’t want you to be put in a position where you have to choose between paying for college and succeeding in college.”
Weede said those who file the FAFSA by mid-February should know by late March how much financial aid they will be eligible for.
“Once you have financial aid awards from the colleges where you’ve been accepted, you can compare costs,” Weede said. “You’ll be able to make an educated decision with all of the facts.”
Students with additional questions should contact the financial aid office at their chosen college or university, he said.
Tom Weede joined Butler University in May 2007 as vice president for enrollment management. Previously, he served as the chief admission officer at Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y., and Warren Wilson College in Asheville, N.C. He also worked at Carroll College in Waukesha, Wis. To schedule an interview with Tom Weede, contact Marc Allan, (317) 940-9822 or firstname.lastname@example.org
To find other Butler University experts, visit http://www.butler.edu/experts/.
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