Financial Aid: Questions to Ask

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10 Questions for the Financial Aid Office

 

Each college had its own set of rules and policies governing financial aid – how outside scholarships are treated, whether aid awards can be approached – information that may or not appear in their brochures.  As you check out the colleges on your list, don’t forget to email, call or visit the financial aid office.

  1. What is the average total cost of attendance (tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, travel, and other personal expenses) for the first year?
  2. By how much should I expect my costs to increase each year?  How much have tuition, fees, room and board increased over the last three years?
  3. Does financial need have an impact on admissions decisions?  How is financial aid affected if I apply via an Early Decision or Early Action program?
  4. Does the school offer need-based and merit-based financial aid?  Are there other scholarships available that aren’t based on financial need?  Do I need to complete a separate application for merit-based scholarships?
  5. What is the priority deadline to apply for financial aid?
  6. When will I be notified about financial aid award decisions?
  7. If the financial aid package isn’t enough, can I appeal?  Under what conditions, if any, will the aid office reconsider the offer?
  8. How will the aid package change from year to year?  What will happen if my family’s financial situation changes?  What will happen if my enrollment status (or that of a family member) changes?
  9. What are the academicrequirements or other conditions for the renewal of financial aid, including scholarships?
  10. When can I expect to receive bills from the college?  IS there an option to spread the yearly payment over equal monthly installments?
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