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Funding for grad school

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I'm about to finish up my applications for fall 2016 and I have some questions about funding.

For undergrad I never dealt with funding because my brother, who went to college a few years before me, didn't qualify for anything through the FAFSA so we didn't even fill it out when it was my turn for college. Basically, my family made too much money to get aid.

Now that I'm applying to grad schools, my family still probably makes too much to get aid but not enough to where paying for grad school is no big deal. I've been looking into the financial aid opportunities at the schools I'm applying to and a lot of them offer aid to students after they enroll, but why would you enroll in a school not sure if you could afford it and risk getting or not getting aid once you're already enrolled?

I'm a bit confused as to how to go about getting scholarships and stuff. I've seen people get accepted to schools in the past with scholarships but I don't see any scholarships or aid opportunities for any of the schools I'm applying to that I can get before I enroll.

Also, do I fill out the FAFSA now or after I get into schools?

Sorry if these are dumb questions I've just never dealt with any of this stuff before!

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How old will you be when you start school? If you qualify as an independent student, it doesn't matter how much your parents make


Also, if you qualify as independent, avoid giving them any information about your family's financial status. You start to file FAFSA in January of the year you want to go to school (so Jan 2016 for Fall 2016 and so on).

Scholarships given by schools are generally given out as part of the standard admissions process, unless there are specific instructions on the school's website. Make sure you indicate that you want to be considered for financial aid in your applications.

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Fill out the fafsa. They use it for loans too. 

Scholarship particulars should be posted in the financial aid section of the school or program. Some schools give them out along with the acceptances just based on your application (merit/assistantships etc), some you  submit another application to the college for (minority scholarship, specific field scholarship, leadership, etc).  Sometimes you end up getting funding if the school "recycles" offers once people rejected admission. 

People apply to schools that may be out of their ordinary budget/ typical price range because they plan to pay for tuition using government and private loans (&  maybe some help from family, their own savings, or a job ). Sometimes you end up receiving a scholarship from the school to help supplement the loans. A lot of the time, you don't know until after you've applied if you've received funding. 


Edited by Yancey
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If you're applying to graduate school at all you are automatically considered an independent. This is the case for everyone. Also fill out your fasfa as soon as you're able to for the next school year. 

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