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scholarships & financial aid | taking action
Avenues For Getting More Aid
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It's all in the timing…
The money a school has to offer is not without limit! Don't put your education in jeopardy by procrastinating. Complete the free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) sooner than later to be considered for a full aid package. You can apply any time after January 1. Keep in mind that the FAFSA requires information found directly on your tax forms which means you should file early to apply early.
Drop a line…
Colleges themselves offer scholarships to their students. Once you solidify your list of schools, visit their respective websites and peruse their offerings. Be aware that some scholarships require a separate application and some keep distinct deadlines. Careful – a few scholarship deadlines might arrive before an admissions deadline. Go figure.
Getting to know you…
Don't be afraid to call the financial aid office should questions arise. A simple inquiry may lead to a conversation with the very person that will build your aid package. Down the road, if you decide to appeal your offer, this is the individual to whom you would go. If you ultimately attend this school, when you reapply in subsequent semesters (yup – this is an annual process), this is the individual that can help.
Leave no stone unturned in the hunt for college capital. Woefully, you will never find an "X" marking the spot but some careful research in the right places can make all the difference. Talk to your family, community leaders, coaches, civic organizations, your Aunt Polly's union, even the minister of your church. After you talk to that crowd of folks, try visiting the multitude of websites with scholarship searches (including The Princeton Review's). A word of advice: Don't pay anyone for help finding scholarships. There are plenty of free scholarship search tools.
Make an appeal…
Your financial aid letter is an offer. If the only thing keeping you from attending your first choice school is an aid package that falls short, strongly consider appealing. Be polite and be prepared. Discuss any unique circumstance that you fear they have overlooked. If a competing college offers a more generous package, the financial aid officer may consider that factor. The aid office probably will not change your estimated family contribution (EFC), but they may consider replacing loans with grants or exchange unsubsidized loans for subsidized loans.