According to College Board's Trends in College Pricing, tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities have risen by an average of 4.9 percent annually over the past decade.
As more students apply for aid to cover rising college prices, learning to navigate your way through the financial aid system will help you avoid delays in getting the money you need. UMUC’s Nasim Keshavarz, Associate Director of Operations and Customer Service, and Frankie Abellano, Associate Director of Scholarships, offered the following tips:
1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Whether you’re applying for a scholarship, grant or student loan, you must submit a completed FAFSA to the U.S. Department of Education to be considered for aid. Be sure to list UMUC’s school code, 011644, in Section 5 so that the university receives your FAFSA.
2. Apply early. The U.S. Department of Education processes about 14 million applications for aid each year, and many federal, state and UMUC grants or scholarships are first-come, first-served. To make sure you’re among the first, file your FAFSA as early as possible before UMUC’s established deadlines of June 1 (fall), November 1 (spring), and April 1 (summer). Maryland residents should file their FAFSAs by March 1 to qualify for state aid.
3. Double and triple check your FAFSA before sending. Incorrect or missing information may delay an award decision. Also, be certain to list your name on the FAFSA as it’s listed on your social security card—don’t include suffixes such as Jr., Sr., etc.
4. Read all correspondence you get from the Financial Aid Office and respond immediately to any requests. This will help avoid delays in processing your aid application. Also, keep all of your personal information up to date. This includes your legal name, address, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses. If you move, you can submit an “address change” through your MyUMUC account.
Finally, if you have questions or problems, take advantage of UMUC’s Financial Aid Online Support. Browse the Frequently Asked Questions, request a call, e-mail or chat live with a member of the Financial Aid team.
How are you paying for your college education? Share your feedback with us in the comments.