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Can I ask for more financial aid?

I received no financial aid due to my mother's income, but I live in a boom-and-bust economy so the income on the 2017 tax report is over $30,000 over her income this year. Can I challenge the financial aid judgement to earn more $$$ #financial-aid #money #finance #scholarships #fafsa ?

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Taj’s Answer


This is a good question that I get a lot.

Let me clarify something, oftentimes when students say they received no financial aid they are usually referring to aid other than loans - even when they likely qualified for federal student loans. Use federal student loans only if you have to, but don't turn them down if you are eligible and need the funds to finance school with no other viable options.

If eligible, see if your Mom (or other parent) is eligible for the Parent PLUS Loan. I've had families that could not afford school with their initial financial aid award package that would up attending the school after a successful approval and acceptance of this loan. Mom has to be credit-eligible for it or else a co-signer (called an Endorser here) would be needed. That co-signer can never be the student.

Finally, there is a process called Professional Judgment. It is a rare attempt at an override of sorts that allows you to challenge the financial aid decision through supporting documentation. These are rare and require certain conditions to be met before approval. You would have to speak to the financial aid office about this particular situation. Oftentimes, these are denied, but this isn't always the case. However, it is strictly up to the school. Keep in mind that initiating a Professional Judgment doesn't mean the school did anything wrong - it is just asking them to review the financial aid award based on possible legitimate and dramatic changes in circumstances that the FAFSA, for example, can't account for.

Good luck!

Taj recommends the following next steps:

Check Mom's eligibility for Parent PLUS Loan.
Initiate a Professional Judgment only if necessary and compelling.

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Gerard’s Answer

Having previously worked in Financial Aid , Yes you can always apply. Depending on your major and grades, you could qualify for certain grants or scholarships specific to your school. In addition there are independent scholarships that can be googled. Typically, the value is smaller but every little bit counts.