Whether you’re a junior or senior in high school making financial plans to attend college in the upcoming years, or are a high school graduated and thinking about entering college, there are some helpful financial aid tips that could save you time and money. The importance of a college education is seen in the fact that college graduates earn on average more than $20,000 annually than their peers. The exorbitant costs of tuition, combined with room and board expenses at public and private colleges, makes knowing about financial aid tips a must. After reading this article, look into other financial aid tips from colleges, the Department of Education, your high school career center, and resources on the Internet.Here are some important financial aid tips to help you get started on the path towards your degree:• Look for available scholarships from public and private organizations and foundations. Millions of dollars are giving yearly to students, and some of those are regardless of the student’s financial need. Contact local foundations, community philanthropic organizations, and your high school college counselor and do some research online about available scholarships.• The second item in the list of financial aid tips is to apply to as many organizations and institutions offering educational grants. Grants have the extra benefit that they don’t need to be paid back. Learn to market yourself, as it is an important part in the competition for merit-based grants. Do not be bashful about your past educational, leadership and community service accomplishments.• Know as much about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as you can. Your research and knowledge about the FAFSA guidelines will ensure that your financial aid is there when you need it. There have been recent changes in the law regarding federal financial aid, and it is in your best interest to be aware of the changes and how they affect you. The timing of your FAFSA is of extreme importance, as federal financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. You are encouraged to complete this form at the start of the calendar year.• Put off borrowing as a last resort is one of the best financial aid tips you’ll ever receive. While getting loans might solve your current financial needs, you have to consider the implications of being in debt until the loans are paid off. There are so many types of loans available with different eligibility requirements, interest rates and deferment plans, that it is best if you do an in-depth research into each type of loan to determine which is right for you.• The last item on this list of financial aid tips is to choose the right school to begin your college education. The private elite universities of higher learning have a lot to offer, but the costs of attending these schools is very high. Think about maybe starting at a local community college close to home and then transferring to a 4-year university. Community colleges are a great way to get your general education courses out of the way at a fraction of the cost of universities and 4-year colleges.