What to Do If Your Financial Aid Package Is a Disappointment

Around this time each year, students complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid forms and wait for financial aid award packages. What happens if you get very little aid (or none)? Does that mean you have to give up your dreams or depend upon your parents taking a second mortgage? Not at all. Most colleges and universities have a re-evaluation policy that can increase your financial aid package based on your merit, need or a combination of the two.

If Your Finances Have Changed

If your financial aid package is not enough, contact your school’s financial aid office as soon as you can and speak to an administrator. According to a spokesperson for SimpleTuition.com, you may qualify for reconsideration if your family has had a drastic change in finances. This change may include an unexpected move, loss of a job, a cut in pay, a major illness, or more.

Other Ways to Negotiate

Even if there have been no significant changes in your family’s financial situation, you may still qualify for financial aid reconsideration. If the offered financial aid package just isn’t cutting it, explain to financial aid administrators that your child really wants to attend that school, but other schools are offering higher aid packages. Ask if the school will consider matching the offer and be prepared to highlight your child’s recent academic achievements, awards, community service, and other desirable qualities. Be aware, however, that successful comparisons can typically only be made between public schools or private schools, but not a mixture.

How It Works

If your request is considered, you will be required to complete a re-evaluation form. Be sure to include supporting documentation regarding any changes in financial circumstances or recent student achievements. The financial aid office will then consider the new evidence and likely adjust the financial aid package.

While the situation may seem bleak to students who receive too little financial aid in their initial offering, some families have been able to apply for re-evaluation and get considerably more funding to help with the costs of education.


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