Each year, more than $24 billion of financial aid goes unclaimed. WHAT?
That’s right. They got more money! And you should go get it.
In all seriousness though, financial stresses are one of the biggest stresses. I don’t know what’s more stressful, auditioning for your dream school or...finances.
Ok, definitely finances.
Performing is actually stress-relieving!
But don’t put your FAFSA application on the back burner! Dedicate time to your FAFSA and stay in the zone! Don’t let the cost of drama school hold you back.
If it’s time to talk about making more money with your FAFSA, this is the post for YOU!
Below are some lesser known tips about how to get everything you can from your FAFSA application...so dig in and let’s get money!
File as early as possible.
The earlier you apply, the more money you can get.
This is common knowledge, but not always common practice. Be one of the ones who submits ASAP.
Federal Aid depletes as time goes on.
This tip is important and simple.
If you’re a parent, transfer your kids’ money into your account so that your kids account is next to nothing.
Because FAFSA expects students can contribute 20% of their money toward tuition versus under 6% for parents.
Also, good news for parents...the home you live in is NOT considered an asset by FAFSA, nor is your retirement savings. So they won't look at those when judging how much you should be able to contribute to a child's college education.
Again, a simple but important tip to get more from your FAFSA. ;)
Appeal your financial aid award letter that your college gives you.
If you get your financial aid award letter from your college and it’s just not enough, you can write a letter to the financial aid office appealing your financial aid award.
This appeal letter essentially says, "We need more help if we're going to really consider attending this school."
It's the job of the financial aid office to work with students who were chosen for the program and make it a match financially. So don't worry about this appeal letter ruining your chances of going to a given school or anything like that. It's a smart move to send an appeal letter, and you want to send a good one!
Ideally, you have extenuating circumstances you can mention in the appeal letter which aren’t on the FAFSA.
FAFSA mainly takes your basic information into account, but your appeal letter can be more effective if you base it around an extenuating circumstance not mentioned in the FAFSA.
For example, a parent was laid off or a big financial burden just hit the family. Or if you have a sibling(s) who’s currently in college or just graduated. The parents of those children have a real burden on their shoulders to pay for multiple kids’ college education and financial aid offices understand that
Explain your circumstances in your appeal letter and your FAFSA will shoot up.
Include supporting documentation wherever possible.
Most financial aid offices set aside a pool of money specifically for those who appeal, so be sure to take advantage of that.
College Goal Sunday Event
College Goal Sunday is a free Financial Aid workshop - there are multiple in each state - where parents and students will get free, on-site professional assistance filling out the FAFSA.
In addition, they can talk to financial aid professionals about other resources like scholarships and grants.
Did I mention it's free? It’s a good trip to make if you want to make as much money as possible in financial aid.
Write your correct name
Last but not least, spell your name correctly.
If you didn't know, they do a database match with social security. So your FAFSA application will reject right away if the name on your application doesn’t match the name on your social security card.
And needless to say, double check your social security number and make sure there’s no typos. Always review!
Ironically, the wrong name is the number 1 mistake students make on their FAFSA, according to Financial Aid Offices.
This results in the application being rejected and sent back for adjustment. That takes time and remember the first tip on this list? File As Early As Possible? It’s number 1 for a reason! You are losing out on money if you application is submitted later, so putting the wrong name would literally COST you.
No nicknames, no abbreviations. Just keep it exactly like it is on your social security card.
BONUS TIP: There is a “print” button at the end of your FAFSA after you’ve filled everything out and before you submit it electronically. I suggest printing out your fully completed application before submitting and reviewing it one last time, line by line, with your parents/guardians to make sure you've spelled your name correctly and you didn’t accidentally put an extra 0 somewhere making it seem like you make $200,000/yr when you only make $20,000.
Whether you’re 18 years old and graduating high school or 26 and going back to school, apply. for. FAFSA.
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