High cash hacks to get extra school monetary support

1. Apply for financial aid

In normal years, high school seniors miss out on billions in federal grants because they don’t apply for financial aid. Many families mistakenly assume they won’t qualify and don’t even bother to fill out an application.

To date, many families have not applied for financial support.

As of February 2023, 38.4% of the high school class of 2023 had completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, according to the National College Attainment Network. (The FAFSA season for the 2023-24 academic year opened on October 1, but students who have not yet registered can still apply.)

“It’s not too late,” said Mary Jo Terry, managing partner at Yrefy, a private student loan refinance firm.

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For families who have already submitted the FAFSA but are still concerned about making ends meet, it is also possible to amend their FAFSA form or contact the college’s financial aid office for further help, particularly if you are making an amendment to found out about your financial situation. like losing a job or becoming disabled, according to Kalman Chany, a financial aid consultant and author of The Princeton Review’s “Paying for College.”

2. Negotiate more school aid

First, understand the formula colleges use to determine expected family contribution. Financial aid is determined by income information, which is not necessarily current. For example, the grant for the 2023-24 academic year is based on 2021 income.

“It’s not so much about what you can pay for as it is about what you can afford to fund,” Chany said.

If your circumstances are now different, the aid office should be informed of this with documents.

But first, make sure you understand the financial aid grant letter — specifically, the difference between grants and loans, whether these funds are renewable for every four years, and whether they come with contingencies such as maintaining a specific grade point average.

How families can ask for more financial aid for college

Then prepare a response with documentation showing any changes in assets, income, benefits, or expenses. If another comparable school’s financial aid package was better, it is also worth documenting this in an appeal.

“Syrupy” letters aren’t as effective as a more quantitative approach, Chany advised.

“This is a business transaction,” he said. “They’re trying to meet their enrollment goals and maintain their income.”

To that end, “play hard to get,” he added. Do not post wearing the school sweatshirt on social media or take steps to indicate that you will be enrolled anyway.

Colleges are likely to be receptive to appeals, Chany said, but “it’s not a buyer’s market like it was when the pandemic started.”

3. Take advantage of private grants

Otherwise, consider other sources of performance-based help, Terry advised. “There’s so much money out there that people don’t even know is available.”

In fact, there are more than 1.7 million private scholarships and grants, often funded by foundations, corporations, and other independent organizations, totaling more than $7.4 billion, according to higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz.

“Every 40 hours you spend applying for scholarships and grants will make you an average of $10,000,” calculated Yrefy’s Terry.

Check with the college or ask your high school counselor about options. You can also search sites like Scholarships.com and the College Board.

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