Apply early to avoid minimize delays in financial aid payments

Sometimes, even if you've prepared all the paperwork ahead of time and done everything you can, college admissions departments make mistakes. Delays in financial aid can be one of the most stressful experiences encountered by many college freshmen.

Students beginning their classes at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for example, were on the receiving end of bad news earlier this week, as many freshmen still struggled to cope with delays in grants and loan payments that have been overdue for more than a month, according to CBS News. Some students' loan applications have even disappeared entirely.

"We have identified 457 students who, for whatever reason, either have problems with addresses on their part that weren't entered correctly on the application part or we did not enter them correctly," Ed Pratt, spokesperson for Southern, told the news outlet.

Other students across the country have experienced similar frustrations. Ricardo Martinez, a freshman at San Antonio College in Texas, told his student newspaper, The Ranger, that he has contacted almost 50 different individuals regarding the non-payment of his student loans.

As soon as you've been accepted into a degree program, apply for financial aid as soon as possible and be thorough when filling out the forms. These steps can help reduce the chances of errors further down the road when you need to be focusing on classes.

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