If you or your parents have recently experienced a significant loss of income, there is an opportunity for you to ask for more aid. Your first step is to ask your school for more financial aid towards your college education through a process called Aid Appeal.
Why You Might Not Get Enough From FAFSA®
When you file your FAFSA® (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), you use your tax returns from two years prior. For some people, this means that the income reported on those taxes is not reflective of their current reality on the FAFSA®.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do during the application process itself. However, you can take steps once you are given your Financial Aid Award Letter from the school you’ll be attending, especially if you find that the aid you’re given isn’t enough to cover your education.
Your Financial Aid Award Letter
You get your Financial Aid Award Letter directly from your school after your FAFSA® has been processed and reviewed. The letter outlines the different grants, scholarships, work-study, and federal student loans you’re being offered.
It will also tell you how much out of pocket you’ll be expected to pay for your education. If this letter shows that you have not been offered enough aid due to the income reported on your FAFSA®, it’s time to start the aid appeal process.
Submit an Aid Appeal to Your School
An Aid Appeal is a formal process students follow to request more money from their school due to a change in their financial circumstances. These changes include things like the death of a parent, loss of income, excessive medical bills, or multiple school financial aid offers.
Generally, the aid appeal process does not take a lot of time. FRANK has outlined how to apply for aid appeal step-by-step. It’s usually pretty easy as long as you can provide well-written reasoning and documentation, showcasing your income loss.
If you still feel that you need help filing for aid appeal, FRANK offers appeal services to help you through the process.
After Filing for Aid Appeal
Once you’ve submitted your appeal letter, make sure to follow-up with your financial aid office every week until you receive an answer. Hopefully, they will judge in your favor and increase your aid package.
There is no guarantee that your aid appeal will be granted; however, there’s no harm in filing for one if you’ve experienced significant setbacks. It’s just another step you can take to make sure you get the money you need to attend college.