Requesting More Student Financial Aid from a School

If you need to get more student financial aid from your school, consider these options:

Start by filling out your FAFSA and applying for federal student financial aid.
Before a college financial aid office is willing to even discuss student financial aid with you, they'll require you to complete a FAFSA and determine what federal financial aid you can receive. Schools don't begin to put together additional financial aid packages until the FAFSA is processed and the school receives the results, so don't bother trying to bypass this step. Once your FAFSA is in and your college knows what federal student financial aid you'll receive, you can discuss more financial aid for college with your financial aid officer.

Demonstrate need for additional student financial aid.
Most schools award student financial aid on a need-based system. Generally speaking, schools want the parents and students to pay for as much of the education as possible through college savings and federal and private loans. If you can demonstrate financial need, either through low-income parents or by being an independent applicant, you're more likely to qualify for additional student financial aid. If you have a high level of need, make an appointment with the student financial aid department and discuss your options to receive more financial aid for college. If you can't demonstrate financial need, you'll need to go another route to receive more student financial aid from a school.

Consider programs with more student financial aid availability.
Some programs in high-need fields, such as education, offer additional student financial aid either through the school directly or through independent or federal financial aid programs. If you need more student financial aid to finance your education, consider going into a program with more student financial aid availability. Be careful with these programs, though; many only apply if you actually go into the field covered by the program, so if you switch majors or go into some other field after graduating, you may be liable for repayment of the student financial aid you receive. If think you might be interested in a high-need field, ask your student financial aid office to tell you about high-need financial assistance programs.

Apply for merit-based scholarships within the school of your choice.
In addition to need-based student financial aid, many schools offer merit-based scholarships and grants that could help round out your financial aid for college. Many large universities boast several different schools, and these individual schools often have merit-based scholarships and grants to award to various individuals. While these merit-based programs are typically highly competitive, it's worthwhile to apply to as many as possible to help to maximize your financial aid for college.

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