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How To Ask For More Financial Aid In The Age Of Coronavirus (And Why You Should!)

August 18, 2020


If your financial circumstances have changed, here’s the best way to request more help from your faculty, and you might be more inclined to listen to a "yes. "

As though paying college weren’t difficult enough already, a global pandemic and consequent economic crisis have now been laid on top of that. Unfortunately, many families are finding that their ability to finance college has changed – drastically. So, the question arises – is now the time to be asking for additional financial aid?

"Absolutely," says Mark Kantrowitz, Publisher and VP of research at SavingforCollege.com. "Approximately 40 million Americans have registered for unemployment. Assuming proportionality, two million faculty parents have lost their jobs, been furloughedexperienced pay cuts – most of that affect your capacity to pay for school. " Job loss or decrease in income are the prototypical examples of "specific circumstances" – reasons why one should appeal.

Remember, schools use your financial information from 2018 (two whole years ago!) To conceive your financial aid package for 2020. "A great deal of individuals’s plight will have changed radically after all then. However, the college doesn’t have any method of understanding that, and that means it’s necessary to inform them" asserts Joe Messinger, CFP, partner and director of College Planning at Capstone Wealth Partners, and CEO of College Aid Pro.

Whenever special circumstances arise – and discretionary lifestyle choices don’t rely – don’t be reluctant to appeal. "You can appeal for more aid at any time. You can appeal multiple times a year if you have multiple special circumstances," states Kantrowitz.

Just remember that any extra help you acquire to a need-basis won’t be because of your bargaining skills, but rather because the school deems your special circumstances merit an adjustment to the FAFSA data elements. (That’s right, you’ve got to fill out the FAFSA. But don’t worry, it won’t take long.) "The faculty can make alterations, but it is going to need updated info out of you," explains Kantrowitz. Here’s the nitty gritty of that process.

WHERE TO START

So you’ve identified your special circumstances and realized it’s time to appeal for more aid. The before all else thing Messinger asks: "Do you have an urge in the school? " If you’re an incoming freshman, you might have an admissions counselor you’ve worked with closely, someone at the school who can be your advocate. "Connect together before all else," says Messinger.

You’ll have to check in with college to find out how to appeal for financial aid (it differs per school). This can be a phone call, but Kantrowitz recommends sending an email. The college will ask you to complete the FAFSA. "That’s the baseline where they operate. "

THE APPEAL LETTER

Next, most colleges will ask you to write an appeal letter. This is where you will summarize your special circumstances. "I propose adding a bulleted list, 1 bullet each position," advises Kantrowitz. "There will probably be greater than one because if it rains it pours. " For each special circumstance you’ll need to clearly explain: what is the financial impact on the family?

Keep in mind: the letter should not tell your life story. "Keep it brief. Concentrate on the related conditions. In the event you’re telling a story that begins ten decades back, this’s probably too a lot of info," says Kantrowitz.

A common question: Should I be asking for a specific amount of money in my appeal letter? Kantrowitz advises against this. "Asking for a particular dollar amount can really lessen the quantity of help you get, not to boost it. " Here’s why: if you ask for a specific dollar amount, and it is less than the amount that they calculate you need, many colleges will simply take you at your word and give you a lower amount.

However, you may include a competing offer from a comparable, "apples to apples" college and see if your targeted school can offer you a better amount. It can’t hurt to get this done, states Kantrowitz, provided that you’re considerate about it. "There’s no appeal beyond the administrator, so you need to be polite. "

ATTACHING DOCUMENTATION

To confirm your particular conditions, you will have to supply appropriate documentation. This usually means putting independent, third party documentation of the particular conditions. You may contain things such as a conclusion correspondence, medical bills, and financial statements. Make sure you send copies, not originals. "The school can’t create an adjustment with no documentation… But as soon as they have itthey could proceed full-speed ahead. And they generally process it fairly fast," notes Kantrowitz.

HOW COLLEGES ARE RESPONDING

Colleges’ budgets are thrown at this time, which means you may believe that they ‘d be less inclined to work out a deal with you personally… but’s not always the situation. "We know that across the board, it’s highly unlikely that the majority of international students are coming back anytime soon. Colleges need to fill those seats. Because of this, we see more generosity with financial aid because they need to draw students to their school versus other schools," clarifies Messinger.

During these days, colleges are now stepping up. They would like to comprehend your present conditions, therefore that it’s up to you to convey them. "For people who are persistent and able to provide the proper documentation about what’s changed, schools really do want to make sure you obtain a fair package based on what’s really happening. "