Tips on Negotiating Financial Aid and Student Loans

Izabella Alvarez, Staff Writer

As June comes, seniors are getting ready to don their caps and gowns, although this is an incredibly exciting time it is also extremely stressful. Whether it be stress about the future or stress about finals we’re on feeling a bit on edge.

For many graduating seniors, a lot of the stress can be about money. Students all over the U.S. are trying to figure out how they’ll pay for college, and if they will even be able to afford to attend this fall.

I am very much on the same page as all these other students, especially after confirming my acceptance to an out-of-state university. Thankfully, I started this financial process months ago and am able to pass on some advice to my fellow seniors.

After finishing applications, I immediately filled out my FAFSA application. This form is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which determines how much money you will receive from the federal government to help pay for college.

This application is a long run and requires a lot of information about your parents, their income, and other important information, so take some time to sit down with them and crank it out.

Before beginning this, you should check with your university to see if there’s a deadline to turn this in. Start here: https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa

Now that your FAFSA is out of the way, it’s time to look into private student loans. This isn’t a requirement for college, but I highly suggest finding a good place for student loans.

Not everyone will be lucky enough to receive lots of financial aid from the government. One of the more popular places for private loans is Sallie Mae. Sallie Mae is the nation’s saving, planning, and paying for college company, offering private education loans, free college planning tools, and online banking.

They actually have multiple plans for undergraduate student loans that you and your family can choose from. Start here: https://www.salliemae.com

Now for the real stuff, scholarships! Obviously JICHS has some amazing staff members who send out emails about scholarship opportunities, but sometimes you can find other resources on your own.

My favorite site to use is called Bold. This site syncs with your Common App to create a personal account with all of your information. It also sends you notifications for all the scholarships that fit you personally, whether it be based on your major, ethnicity, religion, etc.

Bold is incredibly easy to use and sometimes all you have to do to apply to a scholarship is click one button. Of course there are scholarships with essay requirements and video requirements that you can also choose to do. Start here: https://bold.org