CRASH COURSE IN FINANCIAL AID SERIES – PART 4
3 Tips to Prevent College Students From Getting Lost in Technology
In the 4th and final part of our Crash Course in Financial Aid series, Ken O’Connor, Director of Student Advocacy for Fynanz (aka: cuStudentLoans.org) mentioned an important new factor within the college admissions process that hasn’t really been in existence until recently – technology.
“We are at the crossroads of technology in the college process,” he added. “Many schools are converting to online paperwork services now,” he said.
3 of Ken’s tips to help prevent parents and students from getting lost in the technology transition:
1. Note how paperwork is handled – If you notice that the school requires excessive amounts of manually processed paperwork for registration, financial aid and academic records, start taking a second look at your school choices. In the modern age of technology, colleges are turning to improved solutions to settle mundane tasks like paying bills online and accessing student records through the school’s website. If your school is unable to do these things, you will continue to have a painful administrative experience all the way through graduation, O’Connor said.
2. File a FAFSA – Everyone needs to file a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). One important tip that many learn the hard way: when you are filling out the FAFSA online application, you are only going to want to use the “previous” and “next” buttons in the application to move back and forth between pages. Using your browser’s forward and back buttons can cause you to lose all your data and consequently cause you to pull your hair out!
3. File a fifth FAFSA – Always file a fifth FAFSA during the winter of the college student’s senior year. Sometimes students may need to become a “super-senior” and complete a fifth year of college. That could be quite the check to pay without financial aid if you assume your child will be done after four years of school, so it’s definitely worth your time and money to fill out the FAFSA just in case.
Ken O’Connor is a 10 year veteran of higher-education finance, having served thousands of students and parents during his career as a financial aid counselor. Having assisted so many families, each having their own specific financial and educational needs, Ken has gained experience in creatively solving a multitude of the financial problems that arise with attending college.