Maximize Your Child's Financial Aid Chances

Maximize Your Child's Financial Aid Chances

With student loan debt in the U.S. reaching $1 trillion and more than two-thirds of students graduating with debt, the importance of applying for financial aid and receiving the eagerly awaited awards letter can't be understated.

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Once you have an awards letter, there are several things you can do to maximize the aid your prospective student will receive, CNN Money reports.

First of all, you need to be clear on what exactly your financial aid package means. For instance, many colleges practice "front-loading" of grants, where students will be awarded more grant money their freshman year than they will receive as upperclassmen. Additionally, some schools don't even use the word "loan" to describe funds that must be repaid in financial aid packages, so ask questions about anything that seems unclear.

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It's also important to inform colleges—and provide documentation—of any additional aspects of your financial situation that might affect your ability to pay. Colleges may award you extra aid if:

  • You've recently lost your job
  • You're supporting an elderly parent or child with special needs
  • You have large medical expenses to cover
  • You're paying for private school for a younger child

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