If you are like nearly 1 / 2 of all college students today, you count on financial aid to attend college. In fact , several experts — several quoted with this blog — suggest that you use educational funding awards as a way to evaluate the schools you’re looking at. What if, however , even after applying to a number of schools and looking at the different packages that you’ve received, the financial aid offered simply isn’t enough to allow you to attend college.
This is not an uncommon dilemma. On the contrary, it is one that has confronted literally millions of families who are questioning how to afford their children’s university. Millions of families have faced that dilemma, but there are steps that families can take to boost an insufficient aid award. Lynn O’Shaughnessy, from CBS MoneyWatch, suggests a handful of ways that you can choose to approach an insufficient aid award.
Double check the award.
While it doesn’t happen all the time, educational institutions do make mistakes with their awards. A good way to determine whether a mistake may have been made is to compare the award letter with those from other schools to which a person applied. If the financial aid letter is certainly significantly lower than the awards from all other colleges, contact the school that delivered the inferior aid package and enquire them to double check to make sure the award is accurate.
The initial offer may not be the best offer
O’Shaughnessy points out that Jerry Israel, the former president of the College of Indianapolis and the author associated with 75 Biggest Myths About University Admissions, believes many initial help awards to students may be “lowball offers. ” The initial award “will likely be a figure that expects to be the lowest the college reasonably needs you to accept. ” So , such as buying a used car or dealing with an insurance claim, never assume that the first offer is the best offer. Be prepared — and don’t be afraid — in order to negotiate.
Charm your financial aid award
While it is not something that schools are quick to shout out loud regarding, it is sometimes possible to effectively appeal disappointing financial aid awards. If the aid package you or your student receives an aid package that seems a bit on the anemic side, you can ask a college in order to reconsider the award. Just do not approach the school and announce you want to “negotiate. ” Use some finesse and diplomacy.
Contact the right financial aid official
Find out what the school’s appeal process is. Some educational institutions require families to complete an online attractiveness form. When sending emails or even letters make sure you are directing the communication to the right person.
Reveal your other (better) offers
If you used on multiple schools and received stronger aid awards from other colleges and universities, it is possible to make a better case in appealing your aid award. Contact a school with a weaker award plus explain that you — or your student — would like to attend, generally is an issue and other schools have got provided larger packages. If the school is willing to reconsider the award, staffers will typically ask family members to fax over or check out and email the higher offers meant for comparison.
Revise your financial circumstances
If your family has experienced changes because you submitted your financial application, update the school. Changes that can impact an award include deaths and births in a family, divorce or separation, large medical bills and the loss of employment.
Recheck your FAFSA and other aid applications
The reason why the offer might look miserly could be because the parent who completed the financial aid software made some mistakes. Take another look at the figures on all the programs to make sure they are accurate. Also, in case you sent in your application before you filed your earnings taxes, be sure to go back and upgrade the applications to reflect your final tax numbers. This can occasionally make a difference when the school is looking at financial aid awards.
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