As the May 1 deadline to send in your deposit to the school of your choice approaches, keep in mind there is still time to appeal your financial aid offer and request more funds if needed.
If your decision depends on the aid package you were offered, you can appeal, especially if your family’s financial situation changed since you completed your FAFSA. Although decisions regarding your aid package are usually made quickly, you can request more time to make your decision and submit your deposit.
Ann Carrns’ Your Money column in the New York Times on April 23rd, brings to our attention SwiftStudent, a new free tool to help students file their financial aid appeals. SwiftStudent explains the appeal process and provides templates that students can use to write appeals letters to submit to their colleges.
As financial aid packages are not presented uniformly, it is essential to break down offers between aid that doesn’t have to be repaid, like grants and scholarships, and loans which must be repaid. You should accept only the components that your family is comfortable with as your financial aid package is not an all or nothing offer. For example, you can accept grants and scholarships and decline the loans that don’t make sense for you. In order to compare aid offers from one school to another, try using the worksheet provided in The College Bound Organizer to help you decide which package is the best for you and your family.