How to Increase Your Chances of College Financial Aid

With tuition rising ever faster—the average annual cost at a private college is now close to $40,000 and is expected to rise to over $80,000 by 2025—getting financial aid is crucial for many families. If you’re one of them, you’ll want to check out these tips from Kalman A. Chany, author of Paying for College Without Going Broke: 2011 Edition (Random House/Princeton Review):

Don’t assume you won’t qualify. Your income or your grades may or may not make you ineligible, so do your research. And don’t rule out a college because you think it’s too expensive. The higher the cost, the more aid you may receive.

Don’t wait. There’s a limited amount of cash to go around. Apply for aid before you are accepted.

Apply early. You’ll need to fill out the FAFSA form, which is available online at, or you can order one by calling 800-433-3243. Some colleges require additional paperwork, including the College Board’s CSS/PROFILE application, state aid forms, and forms they themselves provide

Make the deadlines. And don’t assume there is only one. Different colleges have different deadlines for different forms, which can fall anywhere from late December, to March.

Know your “expected family contribution.” Use the online tool at to figure what the colleges you are applying to think you can afford before you apply. That way you can plan accordingly and won’t be unpleasantly surprised.

Maximize your aid eligibility. Awards to incoming freshman are based in part on income for the year ending Dec. 31 of the student’s senior year in high school. Make appropriate adjustments to your assets, debts, and retirement provisions so that you can get as much aid as you can.

Dot your i’s and cross your t’s. Don’t make stupid mistakes. Forgetting to sign financial aid applications, neglecting to fill them out completely or using the wrong academic year’s version of the forms will disqualify you.

File your tax returns asap. Some aid deadlines will require you to do a draft version of your income tax return with estimated numbers, so organize your paperwork and be prepared to fill out your tax forms early.

For more ideas on saving for college, visit

Source: Paying for College Without Going Broke: 2011 Edition

Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you this newsletter. For more information please read our privacy policy.

Funny Jokes

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

Funny Jokes

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

Funny Jokes

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram


Funny Jokes

A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Funny Jokes

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.


Funny Jokes

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.


Funny Jokes

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”


Funny Jokes

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

Funny Jokes

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Funny Jokes

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.