1. Be a regular at your financial aid officeA powerful resource for everything related to financial aid is your financial aid office. Here, people are trained in finding the money you need by understanding the many benefits that you may be entitled to. Online research is fine, but nothing compares with the expertise of the financial aid office to work with you on an individual basis.
2. Maintain your required course loadYou can maximize your aid eligibility by simply maintaining good grades and a sufficient number of courses. For example, federal programs such as the Pell Grant are tied to your status, so if you drop a class, you may end up losing some of that money in addition to a drop in your GPA.
3. Get testedParents whose combined gross income is at or near the $50,000 level, may be able to get more money for college by completing a simplified needs test to calculate (and verify) their expected family contribution (EFC). This simplified formula ignores assets, thereby increasing eligibility for financial aid. To find out more about how to apply for the test, contact your tax professional or financial aid office.
4. Apply for a work-study programStudent earnings from work-study programs are exempt and won't count against you when it comes to your financial aid. This will enable you to earn additional money throughout the school year without risking your eligibility.