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Sep 06, 2016 08:51 AM EDT

Paying For College: Top 8 Reasons Why Students Overpay

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Paying for college is not easy. Schools have a lofty pricing model that puts students at their mercy. However, there are also oversights that students and their parents make that cost them thousands of dollars.

It was previously reported that students should start saving early and frequently to be able to make their college education affordable. It's best to have a plan and be practical in choosing where to go to school. There are also financial institutions that can help ease the burden of tuition fees.

USA Today shared eight reasons why some students are overpaying for college. Being aware of these reasons can help you minimize the cost of higher education.

1. Submitting the FAFSA too late.

The financial aid budget for institutional, state and federal funds is usually awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis until the funds run out. For 2016, students can submit the FAFSA as early as Oct. 1 using tax data from earlier in the year.

2. Not being aware of policies and procedures for scholarships and financial aid.

Check with the Admissions Office for the protocol or policy for awarding scholarships and financial aid. It also often converts aid into loans. Know and understand the policy of each office to take full advantage of your package.

3. Applying late and missing out on the first round of acceptances and scholarships.

Students should submit their top priority applications by Oct. 1. This could lead to receiving preferred treatment for admission acceptances and scholarships.

4. Not having a strategy for application submissions and scholarships.

A lot of students randomly submit applications and just wait for a response. A good strategy would be to apply to 8-12 of your prospect colleges with a few "reach" and "safety" schools mixed in.

5. Just accepting costs.

Learn to negotiate. Most people just simply accept the college bill without trying to negotiate the services offered and the cost.

6. Being a "stealth applicant."

It pays off to become well-known to colleges. Students need to show that they have greater value than others to get the max scholarship.

7. Not having a definite plan for achieving a degree.

Additional stay in college would not only cost students additional tuition fees - it would also cost them added expenses in lodging and food. Find the right program for an on-time 4-year degree.

8. Choosing the wrong college.

This is usually caused by indecision and inaction. Be proactive and identify what you want to achieve as well as when and where you want to reach your goals.

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