February marks Financial Aid Awareness Month

As many high school seniors eagerly wait for college acceptance letters, it is important to take a closer a look at your financing options. Fortunately, financial aid is available for incoming students and can help cover the costs of a college education.

Financial aid dollars can come from the federal and state governments, the college you’re enrolled in or private organizations. Accepting aid from a nonprofit or private foundation would be in the form of a scholarship or grant. This is essentially “free money” since this aid doesn’t have to be repaid. The more common forms of aid come from the federal government and require a submitted Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine a student’s eligibility.

Should you complete a FAFSA?

If you want financial aid, then you should complete a FAFSA. Hopefully most incoming college freshman have submitted their forms this past fall, as the application has been open since Oct. 1. If not, students still have the opportunity to submit their FAFSA application by the deadline (for California residents). The good thing about the FAFSA, besides being free, is that you’re not yet bound to any loans – so there’s no harm in applying!

Once your application is submitted and reviewed, students will be presented with their different loan options. After reviewing the financial aid available to you, students can then make the decision whether to accept the loan.

Understand your student loan

Before accepting any student loans, you want to be sure that you’ve thoroughly evaluated your financial need. Take the time to calculate your family’s available financial contribution and weigh those costs against your semester or quarter tuition fees. This will help you determine your need for accepting any federal loans. For a better understanding on the types of federal student loans available, you can visit the Federal Student Aid website. Knowledge is power when it comes to student loans and it is important to educate yourself on loan terms and details to help you prepare for repayment.

Keep applying for scholarships

Don’t stop the scholarship hunt! Many organizations still have scholarship applications open as the spring season approaches. Travis Credit Union proudly offers twenty $2,000 scholarships to qualifying recipients. If you’re a high school senior college bound in the fall of 2018 and a Travis member, you are eligible for our Mary Keith Duff Memorial Scholarship. Hurry, the application to apply closes at the end of business on March 5, 2018!

For application requirements and additional guidelines, please visit www.traviscu.org/scholarship.

Federal Student Aid Scholarships

Forbes Top 10 Credit Unions in California Award
Desjardins Financial Education Award, 1st place nationwide, adult and youth
US Air Force Distinguished Credit Union of the Year
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