Financial Aid; How To Get More


by Daniel Kane - Date: 2007-07-28 - Word Count: 472 Share This!

Parents and students often ask if it is possible to negotiiate with a college to improve the initial financial aid package they have been offered.

The answer is "yes" for some, and "no" for others, depending on a number of variables.

It is true, however, that it may be possible to wind up with an improved scholarship or financial aid package after an exchange with an admissions or financial aid staff member.

To apply for financial aid, students most complete and submit a federal financial aid form (FAFSA) which consists of questions about family assets (including savings and investments) and earnings. Some colleges, primarily privates, ask students to complete a second such form.

It is the information therein collected that enables colleges to get a picture of a student's financial need. While not all aid requires financial need, federal grants and subsidized loans do. And, federal funds may not be used to award students dollars in excess of their demonstrated need.

Thus there is only one way to get an increase in federal funds. If you can demonstrate to a financial aid counselor that your financial status has changed significantly since submitting the FAFSA, or prove the existence of special circumstances, you may be eligible for additional dollars. If you have a case to make, be prepared to submit documentation and you may be successful. Your word alone will seldom if ever be enough.

Institutional financial aid, however, can be a different story. Individual colleges and universities can offer you grants and scholarships even if you have no financial need. But, not all choose to do so. The very most selective colleges tend to offer money only to those with demonstrable financial need (and meet the full need of all students).

Other colleges and universities, especially second and third tier privates, often use institutional scholarships to compete with more selective and/or less expensive colleges. Such schools are generally very comfortable using their own dollars to sweeten the pot for high-achieving students.

Therefore, students admitted to such colleges might very well be able to meet with an admissions counselor and come away with additional funds if they can demonstrate that attending the college in question would be a financial stretch or that their other college options are significantly less expensive. Note that this kind of conversation should be held with an admissions counselor, not a financial aid counselor.

Do not think of a request for more aid as a negotiation, and do not approach it as such. Instead, ask an admissions officer (counselor, director, or dean) for help...help that will enable the student to attend the college without creating severe hardship for his or her family. If you have a good case to make...if you can demonstrate that the financial aid package offered to you puts a college or university out of reach, you may well get the additional aid you need.

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Daniel Kane, a university Dean, has created and maintains websites on online degree programs and online education degrees .Get your own completely unique content version of this article.

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