make the most of your financial aid office's help

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Apply early

You should fill out the FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1 of the year prior to your college start date. Financial aid offices often give first consideration for some financial aid programs that have limited funds to students whose applications are received by the priority deadlines.

Meet with a financial aid advisor

You should contact your financial aid advisor at your school to help you choose options that are appropriate for your financial needs. Be sure to come up with a list of questions to ask.

Attend a financial aid workshop

Financial aid offices often host financial aid workshops on campus or in the community to give an overview of the financial aid process and give families a chance to ask specific questions.

Inquire about the outside scholarship policy

If the combination of your EFC and your aid package (including outside scholarships other than those awarded by the government or the school) exceeds the cost of attendance, your aid package must be adjusted. Many schools will work with you to reduce the impact of outside scholarships if you are up front about reporting them.

Understand the professional judgment policy

If your financial situation has changed dramatically, if you experience financial hardships, or if guardianship is not represented in the FAFSA, consider meeting with an advisor. Circumstances such as death or sudden unemployment of a parent or guardian, unusual medical expenses, etc., may change your aid eligibility. Professional judgment is administered differently among schools on a case-by-case basis. While financial aid officers have the authority to use professional judgment, they are not required to do so.

Review the web page

Be sure to visit your financial aid office’s website, where you will find many resources to help you through the financial aid process, such as frequently asked questions, downloadable financial aid forms, policies and procedures, etc.


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make the most of your financial aid office's help

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