How to avoid common mistakes when applying for financial aid

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Applying for financial aid is a lot like doing your taxes. It’s not necessarily fun, but it’s necessary to make sure you’re getting everything you need and deserve. The process can be confusing, though, especially if you’ve never done it before. Say’s Mark Mariani, so if you’re planning on applying for financial aid in the coming months or years and want to avoid making any mistakes (that could significantly impact your eligibility), keep reading!

Not applying for aid by the deadline.

Applying for financial aid can be a confusing process, and it’s easy to get caught up in the noise. But if you’re hoping to get money from your school, make sure that you don’t miss any deadlines.

  • Deadlines vary by school and program; some have earlier ones than others. Make sure that you check with each one of them before applying so that there are no surprises later on when it comes time for their decision process!
  • Most schools have their application due dates before classes start (usually around January or February), but some may require applications after students begin classes–so again: double check those deadlines!

Not applying for enough aid.

The first step to applying for financial aid is determining how much you need. The best way to do this is by using the FAFSA4caster, a tool provided by the government that estimates your eligibility based on your income and family size. If you find out that you’re eligible for more than what was estimated, then it’s time to submit an appeal letter with documentation of any changes in circumstances that could affect your eligibility.

Additionally, if there are any circumstances surrounding your application (such as being homeless) that might make completing forms difficult or impossible at this time of year due to lack of internet access or remote location (for example), contact your school’s financial aid office directly so they can help guide you through submitting them once these issues have been resolved–or even just provide some additional support during this process!

Not understanding your credit score and how it affects your eligibility.

It’s important to understand your credit score and how it affects your eligibility.

Credit scores are a number that represents the likelihood that you will repay a loan. If your score is low, it may mean you don’t qualify for aid or have to pay more in interest rates on student loans. You can get your free credit report at–and if there are errors on it, dispute them with the three agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) who track your information.

There are some common mistakes people make when applying for financial aid

There are some common mistakes people make when applying for financial aid.

  • Not applying for enough aid. You can only get what you apply for, so it’s important to be honest about your needs and realistic about how much money you will need in college.
  • Not understanding your credit score and how it affects your eligibility: If you have any unpaid bills or overdue payments on credit cards or student loans, this could impact the amount of aid that is available to you through grants and scholarships (as opposed to loans).


The best thing you can do is to be prepared and know what to expect. We hope this article has helped you understand some of the common mistakes people make when applying for financial aid, so that you don’t fall victim to them yourself!

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