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5 More Deadly Financial Aid Mistakes

Dear Fellow Parent

Last year (23 hours ago), I wrote about five big mistakes people make in financial aid that cost thousands (or more).  But I mentioned that I was merely scratching the surface.

Today, I thought I’d offer five more deadly, money-losing mistakes to avoid!

6.  Failure to understand how “it all works.”  Here’s the deal, in a nutshell.  If you want $$, you must play by the rules of each college.

They have requirements re:  what forms to file (they all require the FAFSA, many require the CSS Profile or another form in addition to – NOT in lieu of – the FAFSA.), what information they need, when they need it, etc.  

There’s an actual financial aid formula, which dictates how you look in “their” eyes. Income is an important factor, but there are 70-odd others that contribute to the determination whether you are going to clean up or strike out in financial aid.

7.  Blowing priority deadlines.  Each college has a priority financial aid deadline that you must comply with in order to get full consideration for financial aid.  Problem is, they’re not easily located on most colleges’ websites.  But they are there…and you’d better dig ‘em up!

8.  Not following up post-filing.  We advise our clients to call each college’s financial aid office to ensure that 1.  they received the filings and 2. that they do not require any additional information.

Even if you’re able to literally stare at a confirmation from FAFSA on your computer screen, some colleges may deny seeing your financial aid forms and request that you (re)send them.  A little paranoia is a healthy thing, verify before it’s too late!

9.  Thinking your award letter is your final offer, forever and always. OK, this may shock you, but colleges are BUSINESSES that want your money.  They do not always give their highest and best offer.

You may be able to improve your “final” award, after it’s issued! I’ve seen some crazy before and after swings in the day, they happen each year.  Sometimes a college increases its offer by $2,000, other times:  $30,000 or $40,000.  Per year.  (No, that’s not a typo.)

Bottom line:  why not try?  The answer to every unasked question is “No.”

10.  Assuming you won’t qualify for anything (“Why bother?  Families like us don’t get financial aid!”).  I’m not going to blow smoke up any of your orifices, not everyone qualifies for financial aid. But consider the following facts:

  • Most aid goes to families in the top quartile of income, i.e. six-figure earners

  • The average discount at a private college is 45%

  • The financial aid formulas factor other things besides income, i.e. number of children in college, age of parents, where you have money saved (some places penalize more than others, some types of savings are entirely exempt.)

The College Board estimated that 53% of eligible families do not bother applying.  I have no idea whether that number is accurate, but I’m pretty certain that thousands of families leave a TON of money on the table by not applying.

I’m pretty certain that one of the reasons you found me and my emails is because you don’t want to leave any money on the table.

If that feels like you, I created this product exactly for you.  It covers everything in this email and then some.

Check it out before you start breaking your New Year’s resolutions! 🙂

Your Correspondent,

Andy Lockwood

P.S.  Please forward this email and link to InstantCollegeFunding.com to anyone you feel could use this information (i.e. stressed out, confused parents with Seniors or Juniors!).  You could save them mucho dinero!