How To Get The Most Out Of Your Financial Aid Package

College is not cheap. According to Collegeboard.com, “about two-thirds of full-time undergraduate college students receive some type of financial aid.”

After you complete the FAFSA form (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) with your college or university, you will receive a financial aid package.

The package is a breakdown of all the loans, grants, and scholarships your school has awarded you to offset tuition costs.

Add up all those number and subtract it from tuition costs and I’m warning you, your mouth may still drop.

However, your first financial aid package does not have to be your final one. There are many loopholes to getting financial help that colleges prefer not to tell students or parents up front. Here are a few tips to find them:

APPEAL: Don’t be afraid to ask for more money. If you have reason to believe that your financial aid should be higher, or what you got is still short, you can appeal your package. Write an honest letter to your financial aid office ASAP, and explain your situation to them. If they have money left over after they distribute to other students (they usually have extra), you have a good chance of getting the leftovers.

LOOK FOR SCHOLARSHIPS: Athletes and geniuses are not the only people who there are scholarships for. There are millions of scholarships available for students from things such as heritage scholarships, scholarships based on your major, business scholarships and church scholarships, just to name a few.

First go to Google and try searches such as, college scholarships (Fastweb.com), scholarships in your area, or for your intended profession. Try to think of organizations that may give out scholarships like community groups, hospitals, or non-profits and check their websites or give them a call.

WORK STUDY: Finding a job that is accommodating to your hectic and sometimes choppy class schedule can be difficult. However, work-study programs employ college students on campus and give you a paycheck to offset tuition. Work-study jobs are entry level and can include assistant work, reception help, or working at the gym. Financial aid nominates students to be eligible, so if the work study program wasn’t on your first financial aid package, you should inquire.

Remember, financial aid offices are not going to give away money easily. If you need more financial aid, there is a way to get it, you just have to go after it.

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Lisa Manente

Lisa Manente

Lisa Manente is a senior at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT. She will be graduating with the BA in Media Studies and Communications in May. Editing the Entertainment section for her university’s newspaper and magazine has fueled her passion for entertainment journalism, which is the career path she plans to explore. In her free time she enjoys reading, traveling, listening to music, and catching up on celebrity gossip.

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