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Herzing Staff

Five Foundational Factors for Financial Aid Success

For some well-deserved clarity and guidance, take note of these five key tips for financial aid success.

For many prospective students, the cost of education can be discouraging and deter them from pursuing their desired degrees. At Herzing University, we believe that understanding and utilizing financial aid can be the key to not only alleviating financial burdens but also accelerating your academic journey toward the degree, and ultimately career of your dreams.

If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by the number of financial aid options, terms, and resources to unpack, use this as a starting point to understand the foundation of financial aid. For some well-deserved clarity and guidance, take note of these five key tips for financial aid success.

1. Understand Grants, Scholarships and Loans

For adult learners, financial aid isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. The first step is to explore the funding options available and identify the options that suit your specific circumstances. Grants, scholarships, and loans are words commonly used to describe financial aid, but what do they mean, and how can they help you? 

  • Scholarships are merit-based financial awards. They recognize and reward academic achievements, talents, or specific qualities, allowing individuals to fund their education based on their unique strengths. Much like grants, scholarships help reduce the overall cost of education.
  • Loans are borrowed funds that require repayment over time. While they can provide immediate financial relief, it's important to understand the terms and conditions associated with loans. Understanding the differences between federal and private loans, interest rates, and repayment plans is paramount to making informed decisions about your financial future.
  • Grants are typically awarded based on financial need and don’t require repayment. Grants are valuable resources for those seeking financial assistance without the burden of future repayment.

Each of these financial aid components carries unique advantages, catering to the diverse needs of individuals seeking assistance on their educational journey.

2. Utilize FAFSA Opportunities

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form is another major component of financial aid success. FAFSA opens doors to a range of federal and state financial aid programs, including grants, loans, and work-study opportunities. Completing the FAFSA can be quick and easy when you are prepared.

Complete your FAFSA online and electronically sign it using your FSA ID. The FAFSA must be completed each year you are enrolled in school and is available beginning October 1st.

3. Account for Realistic Cost of Attendance

No matter your degree, your educational journey goes beyond tuition fees. The Cost of Attendance (COA) encompasses a variety of expenses, including class materials and transportation. To create a comprehensive financial plan, take your current financial situation into account, and estimate how your educational journey will impact your time and budget.

Consider all costs including those related to your job, family commitments, and other responsibilities. Adult learners often face unique challenges such as balancing work schedules with class times or accommodating family needs such as transportation costs or childcare. By understanding and budgeting for these aspects, you can reach your financial and academic goals without extreme sacrifice.

4. Balance Education with Other Responsibilities

Maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is crucial for those on their educational journey and doesn’t come without challenges. External responsibilities can influence your ability to manage your schoolwork, which impacts the investment you’ve made in your education.

Utilize the availability of academic and financial aid advisors who understand your situation. Regular check-ins can help you navigate potential roadblocks, ensuring you meet SAP requirements while successfully managing your busy lifestyle. Collaborate with advisors to create a realistic academic plan that accommodates your unique circumstances, promoting both academic success and personal growth.

5. Master Financial Literacy

No matter where you are in life, understanding the intricacies of your educational investment is essential. Take the time to brush up on your financial literacy by practicing skills such as budgeting, credit management, and long-term financial planning.

Understanding your financial options enables you to make informed decisions about student loans, assess the long-term impact of your educational investment, and strategically manage your finances during and after your academic journey. Explore available resources, workshops, and counseling services to take your expertise to the next level.

By mastering financial literacy, you not only navigate the complexities of educational expenses more effectively but also lay the groundwork for financial stability in the future. These lessons will benefit you both during school and for the rest of your life. For parents returning to school, this can be knowledge you pass along to your children to prepare them to make big decisions later on in life.

At Herzing University, we recognize and support the diverse paths of our students. For further guidance on financial aid, connect with our dedicated financial aid advisors. Your pursuit of education and personal growth is a journey we are committed to supporting.

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* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics 2023 / Occupational Outlook Handbook 2022. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.

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