5 Reasons Why EVERYONE Should Apply for Financial Aid
One of the most common questions I hear is, “Don’t I make too much to apply for financial aid?” This is an excellent question. If you earn a high income, own a nice home or two and have money saved for college and retirement, why would you bother completing those cumbersome and intrusive financial aid applications?
While most of my clients looking for help with a college funding plan do not qualify for need-based financial aid, I still advise them, plus every colleague, friend, and relative I know, to apply for financial aid. Here are the top five reasons why, and some may surprise you!
Reason #5: You Might Qualify For Financial Aid
Out of the families I meet with, 80 percent assume they do not qualify for need-based financial aid. However, when they apply for financial aid, 40 percent are surprised to discover that they do! If you do not file the FAFSA and CSS Profile, you might miss out on important financial aid, grants, and tax credits.
Check out Princeton’s net price calculator for financial aid eligibility. A student with parent income of $350,000, non-retirement assets of $200,000 and two kids overlapping in college will qualify for $14,000 in grant aid per year – Free money!
Reason #4: Apply For Financial Aid To Qualify for Government Student Loans
Every student who completes the FAFSA, regardless of income and assets, will qualify for federal student loans. With student loan debt at an all-time high, I know you and your family worry about being overburdened with debt, but here are two reasons to apply for financial aid anyways.
- Until your four-year college funding plan is in place, this will give you access to some funds along the way that can help pay for college.
- A student loan will share some of the responsibility of paying for an education with your son or daughter.
Reason #3: Ensure Financial Aid Eligibility If Finances Change
If there is a major change in household income or financial circumstances, having applied for financial aid will ensure you are already in the college financial aid program and make you eligible to qualify for need-based financial aid. Having access to funds, especially if your financial outlook changes, will come in handy.
Reason #2: Be Prepared To Appeal
When you apply for financial aid by completing the FAFSA and CSS Profile, you are letting colleges know you care about the cost. This also means that parents need to be prepared to appeal financial aid awards. Yes, you can appeal your financial aid and merit aid package! Another tip many parents don’t realize is that if their student is accepted from two or more colleges with different net prices, some colleges will increase the merit aid offered in order to be competitive.
To find out how to appeal a financial aid award, contact the financial aid office and ask about the appeal protocols. Many colleges require crafting an appeal letter, which is a powerful tool for parents to state their case and provide supporting documentation. Colleges will respond to your appeal letter and it may provide your student with the opportunity to attend their first choice college for less money!
The #1 Reason to Apply for Financial Aid: Colleges want YOU!
Colleges want to see your ability to pay for college and will use tuition discounts to get well-off clients. Wealthy parents are the ones that contribute to endowment funds and booster programs. Plus, colleges want to be attractive and offering tuition discounts helps increase enrollment for these highly desirable students.
Need Help Filing Financial Aid Forms?
At Westface College Planning, we are happy to help parents and students navigate the process of paying for college from start to finish! Learn how we can help you apply for financial aid by filing the FAFSA and CSS Profile on your behalf and much more by calling us at 360-818-7728.
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