By Ryan Laspina
Senior Specialist, Red Flags and External Reviews at APUS
Even though the school you wish to attend will create a financial aid package of a certain amount for you, it doesn’t mean that it will be the absolute final amount of financial aid you will be able to receive. You’re able to ask schools for a higher financial aid award if you really feel it’s necessary. Often, a school may oblige you and create a financial aid package of a higher amount.
When you ask for extra financial aid, there are several mistakes you can make. Here are crucial mistakes to avoid:
- Do not confuse the names of schools you are asking for extra aid if you are sending letters to several schools. This mistake looks unprofessional and shows that you use a generic letter template. Personalize each letter to ensure the school perceives you as respectful.
- Avoid sending a rude letter or one that makes you seem entitled; that is the wrong way to ask for more financial aid. Remember, real human workers read these letters and make the decisions on whether you should receive extra aid.
- Ask for a specific amount of extra financial aid. Also, include supporting documents or the reasons for your inquiry. Colleges will be much more likely to provide you with some extra aid if you give a specific amount with specific reasons.
- Understand that there are very few “free rides.” Nearly every college student has to contribute to his/her educational expenses. While colleges may be willing to lessen the financial burden on you, it is very rare that they provide you with financial aid to cover every last penny of your educational expenses. You are partly responsible for the cost of your education.
- Make sure you write to the correct office. The financial aid office at your school may not handle every single avenue to financial aid. Admissions, specific educational departments, and other offices may handle the aid you seek. Do your research to ensure you reach the right office.
- Never give up if your school declines your request. Ask them for all of your options and see if there are alternative ways to earn more financial aid.
Asking for extra financial aid may make you feel uncomfortable, but if you feel you should receive more than your school is willing to give you, reach out to them. The worst thing that can happen is that they say no. If you have multiple schools you are interested in, use some of that leverage to get a better financial aid package.
However, it is extremely important to remember that you are responsible for paying back any loans you receive. If you need extra financial aid, your best bet is to look at scholarships and grants.