Final award letters will soon be coming to your mail box. You will finally know the exact amount of money you have to come up with to pay for college. What’s next? Do you simply accept the offer from your favorite school? Do you appeal your award? Or, do you go back to the drawing board and think it over for another month?
Here are some important questions to ask yourself before attempting an appeal:
Has there been a change in your circumstances since you filled out the FAFSA?
Have you had any unexpected medical expenses, a sudden divorce, or a layoff? If there has been a sudden change in your ability to pay for college for any reason, you may be able to win an appeal.
Did your second-choice school give you a better offer than your first-choice school?
If the schools have a similar ranking, you may be able to get your first-choice school to match that better offer. If the schools are not academically comparable, you won’t get very far with your effort.
Can you justify your appeal with documentation?
Whatever the reason for your appeal, you won’t have a chance winning it without the documentation to back up everything.
What if you simply don’t have sufficient savings to pay for everything?
Even if the only way to educate your children will require that you borrow $20,000 a year for the next twelve years, your sob story is not going to win an appeal. You can, however, still ask the college if there are any other scholarships (including through the department of your academic major) that you can pursue this late in the game. If there are no scholarships, your student can also ask if there are any work-study funds still available. Colleges may be impressed knowing that your student is willing to work to help pay for his or her education.
Take the time to understand how the appeals process works
Though remaining funds may be limited and you don’t want to miss the opportunity of tapping into them, it is critical that you have an understanding of how the process works. The rules of the game operate quite differently in a college setting than they do in a real world business setting. Take the time to understand the process or you may not get very far in your effort.
If you would like some help in discerning the appeal process for you, contact us at My College Planning Team. Good luck!