Financial Aid Round-Up: Tips for Getting More Financial Aid and Other Solutions to Your Financial Aid Gap

If you’re still trying to figure out how to cover all your short-notice college costs, today’s Round-Up pulls together ideas and advice from around the web.

1) An article by Marisa Schultz at The Detroit News provides a terrific chart illustrating what a student’s financial aid package may look like before and after an appeal for more aid:

College aid appeals skyrocket: It’s not too late for hard-hit families to ask for more help

2) Kim Clark at U.S. News & World Report offers basic but essential “Do”s and “Don’t”s for submitting a financial aid appeal to your school:

10 Tips for Getting More Financial Aid

A few recommendations will sound familiar, but there’s also some excellent advice about what NOT do.

3) For The Economy Project at KERA NPR & PBS, news director Shelley Kofler interviews students and financial aid administrators at the University of Texas – Arlington. You can listen to her report here:

Some College Financial Aid Still Available

UT Arlington’s financial aid director indentified the university’s appeal paperwork as a “Consideration of Change of Circumstances” document. Your own school should have something similar, which will allow you to demonstrate that your current financial situation is a much more accurate reflection of your ability to pay for college than your FAFSA from 8 months ago.

4) Sandra Block, author of USAToday’s “Your Money” column, pointed out the possibility of setting up an Extended-payment plan with your school’s financial aid office:

Even as kids pack to go to college, it’s not too late for aid

An Extended-payment plan breaks up the total of your tuition bill into monthly installments so you don’t have to come up with the money all at once. You may have to pay a small fee to set up a payment plan, but if paying your tuition bill in installments prevents you from having to drop out, it could be worth it. Call your financial aid administrator to ask if your school has an extended payment plan.

5) If there’s no more money to be had at your current school and they can’t get you more federal financial aid, consider transferring to a community college or public university close to home. Everybody’s doing it:

USAToday: Economy sending students back home to college

In fact, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni found that quite a number of flagship state universities do a much better job with general education than the top liberal arts colleges and national universities, while charging much lower tuition and fees.

Take a look at ACTA’s new site, WhatWillTheyLearn.com, for some fascinating feedback on college performance and tuition across the country. WhatWillTheyLearn.com ranks colleges on the strength of their general education curriculum rather than their reputation. The goal is to indentify schools that provide a strong foundation of knowledge and graduate the most students. There are some surprises.

6) If you haven’t already filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, do it now. Every year the U.S. Department of Education provides around $100 billion in new financial aid to postsecondary students. And if you’re unemployed and going back to school for new job training, you may still be eligible for a Pell Grant without having to give up your unemployment benefits.

Maybe six months ago you didn’t think you would qualify for federal aid.  Maybe now you do.

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