Financial Answer Center

Landing Financial Aid

Financial Aid Suggestions
  1. If having an UGMA or UTMA account makes it difficult to get aid, first spend the money in that account on college expenses and then reapply when the account is diminished or depleted.
  2. If a student is declared independent for federal aid purposes, the parent's assets are not counted in calculating how much the student is expected to contribute. Schools are strict on this issue. Your child's chances of being declared independent go up if he or she is (1) age 24 by January 1 of the year applying for aid, (2) an armed forces veteran, (3) a graduate or professional student, (4) married, (5) a ward of the court, or both parents are not alive, or (6) has legal dependents other than a spouse.
  3. Even if you don't qualify for financial aid, going through the process may qualify you for loan programs.
  4. Reapply every year. The determining factors of whether you qualify are changing every year: your assets, your income, number of children in school, etc. If you didn't qualify the first time, you may qualify the next year.
  5. Don't limit yourself to one program. You may be eligible for more than one at the same time.
  6. The amount of assets owned by your child may negatively impact the amount of aid for which you are eligible. Gifting assets to your children during the financial aid process may reduce the amount of aid you receive.
  7. When applying for financial aid, mention special circumstances that impact your financial well-being, such as an ongoing or recent divorce, extraordinary medical expenses, disability, or being a victim of a disaster—flood, hurricane, fire, etc.
  8. Financial aid packages may be negotiable—especially if the school really wants your child to attend their institution.
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