High school seniors encouraged to apply for financial aid - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

High school seniors encouraged to apply for financial aid

(WMC-TV) - Many high school seniors are looking forward to college in the fall. But the question is, do they know how to finance it? 

"It's important for students to understand that they can't think about going to college without thinking about how they are going to pay for it," said Vanessa Peterson of Kaplan, a college preparatory company.

According to Peterson, every high school senior needs to go to the FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid) website. On the site, students will be able to identify the different forms of financial aid that are available. The application will give students access to pell grants, work study, student loans, and much more. 

The application process will take roughly 90 minutes to complete and should be done as soon as possible. Students will need a parent on hand to show financial records and official documents.

In addition to applying for financial aid, Peterson recommends that students look for scholarships. Seniors may contact their guidance counselor or visit the website CAPPEX for more information.

"It's a great clearinghouse for scholarships and different types of opportunities for students. You don't have to be an A student to receive a scholarship," said Peterson.

Another important tip for students to remember is that financial aid packages are negotiable. If multiple schools are offering aid, students should try to get as much money as possible to cover the cost of their education.

Peterson notes that one method of negotiating packages includes simply asking.

"This is what I'm interested in...this is what I have been a part of. I really want to go to your university, but this university is offering more. Could you possibly match?", said Peterson.

Students and parents should be aware that not all money is good money. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Anyone who asks you to pay money up front or wants to give you millions of dollars without you showing any proof, is probably attempting to scam you.

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