With the economy stagnating and with fewer blue collar jobs available than ever before, many Americans have found that it is essential to have a college degree in today’s marketplace. Consequently, many people who would not have previously done so – whether they’ve just graduated high school or are 50 years old – are pursuing a college degree.

The benefits of a college degree are very real, but so are the high costs of obtaining one. Someone who seeks a 4-year traditional degree is going to be hard-pressed to find a school that doesn’t cost a good amount of money. Even if you save well and space out the payments, there’s a good chance you’ll feel tempted to turn to ExpertBail bail bonds as the costs rise to create for you a personal financial prison.

Of course, for those people who struggle mightily to cover the cost of college, there’s a good chance that they qualify for financial aid. But not all financial help is created alike. There’s a wide range: you could get a full ride or just a couple hundred dollars in loans.

While the amount of aid you receive is largely based on uncontrollable components of your specific situation, there are a few steps you can take to maximize, as best as possible, the money you get.

Claim Dependents

The dependents you claim on federal and state tax filings can have a substantial impact on the aid you receive. Four dependents, for example, will likely translate into more aid than 0 or 1. So if there are any people in your life who are financially dependent on you, list them. Furthermore, if you’re just graduating high school and have been a dependent of your parents all your life, now is probably a good time to file as an independent.

Go In-State

Many people choose public schools within their state of residency because those schools are usually cheaper in the first place. But the in-state savings also apply to aid. At many colleges, larger amounts of need-based aid are set aside for in-state students. If you’ve already found an appealing, cost-effective school that is not in your state, it may be worthwhile to figure out the steps you need to take to establish residency there.


Most schools have dedicated financial aid departments that are dedicated to doling out scholarships and working with the student to reduce his costs. These financial aid people want to help you, and appealing to them often brings about immediate results. With this in mind, go into the office and explain your circumstances in detail. They may not be able to give you more money, but doing so certainly can’t hurt.

It is hard to over-emphasize the importance of a college degree these days. As a result, you want to insure that nothing gets in the way of your path to that degree – money included. By following these tips, you’ll hopefully be able to secure a bit more aid and a bit more peace of mind.