Financing your College Education in California
Several financial options are available to enable students to pursue a college education in the State of California. These schemes help students to procure the required funds for a college education, as well as to pursue professional and post-graduate courses.
Funding your education can be done using a few methods. The best options ofcourse are grants and scholarships. The student grants may or may not be government aided. The least desirable option from a student perspective would be to take a private student loans. Government aids may be federal or state aided. Before embarking on any applications, it is important to find out if the school to which you are applying is listed under the federal aid program.
The US Department of Education gives aid under the Peters and William D Ford direct loan program, Subsidized Stafford loans(which do not charge interest while the student is in school), Unsubsidized Stafford loans , Direct Grad Plus loans(for graduate /professional students) and Plus loans as aid for parents who are putting children through college.
State aided grants include the Calgrant program, which is a grant given to students, subsidized by the state of California. This is a very good grant to apply for because, it is totally subsidized. F or details, you can get in touch with the California Student Aid Commission at (888) CA GRANT or through their web site, www.csac.gov and www.calgrants.org. An important deadline to remember in this case is that the 2nd of March is the deadline for verification of GPA and the necessary FAFSA forms must be submitted, since it is a a grant given to deserving students on a first come first serve basis.
For students applying for federal loans, it is important to start early so that all the necessary forms are filled in by the deadline. If applying for the fall semester, you have to ascertain the deadlines of the schools to which you are applying by December,submit applications by January, and prepare to fill in federal grant(FAFSA) forms. As tax returns are also needed, they need to be at least estimated for submission, if not filed. The details of application for the federal grants and their deadlines maybe obtained from their web site, www.fafsa.ed.gov. An important deadline to remember is again the 2nd of March when the completed forms, with the tax returns and GPA credits are to be filed as these applications are again processed on a first come first serve basis. In case, you are applying for the spring semester, the deadline for form submission is on the 2nd of September.30th of June is the deadline to accept FAFSA for the current school year.
If further aid is still required, there are several private loan schemes which help to cover educational costs. Most of them do not take credit ratings into consideration and the interest charged is on an income to educational debt basis. Some banks offering the loans are listed below along with their telephone numbers:
- West America Bank, Fresno(559)243-4370
- Summit Savings FSB, Rohnert Park(707)575-8855
- WAB,Mill Valley(415)389-4710
- Bank of America NA, Davis(530)757-5020
- Washington Mutual Bank, Norwale(562)868-3796
- Union Bnk of California NA(661)799-8551
- Wells Fargo Bank , Fresno(559)221-0291
- Nara Bank, Van Nuys(818)654-0200 and
- City National Bank(805)677-4200.
While applying for any student loan, it is important to remember to negotiate the terms of the loan well. Ensure you have enough time to apply and make an informed decision when choosing a private lender for your loan. It is also important to make a college budget and stick to it. Other tips include setting long term career goals, finding out whether the educational program to which you apply can pay back the loan in the long term and finding out if re-application is necessary. Another important point is to find out what the grant covers in terms of tuition fees, books, educational aids, dorm fees and the like.
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