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How can I get more financial aid?

My family is middle class so we aren't able to qualify for any extra money, and we have bad credit, so we aren't able to apply for any loans. Any suggestions besides scholarships? #financial-services #money

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Danilo’s Answer


No money for middle-class families? Who told you that? I work with all kinds of middle-class families and they get money all the time.

I worked with a family with income of over 700K and they received a $35K a year scholarship at Tulane University. So I know this can happen.

Anyone can get financial assistance from a college regardless of income. To paraphrase another college planner I know out in Los Angeles:

"It's not about needing the money. Its about making the college think that they need to pay you."

I recommend looking at colleges that have a history of awarding a combination of need-based and merit-based aid. This is a complex answer and its difficult to know how to answer unless I see what the college can see. This includes your transcript, test score and your families personal finances. along with other college students in your household.

Since we don't have that, I encourage to read this article. You can find the money!


Also, apply to multiple colleges and create competition to obtain more merit aid. Here is a podcast from NPR's Planet Money that talks about this.


Another hint, what is the college's enrollment yield? I know Emory University here in Atlanta averages about 29%. What this means is that out of 100 students they accept, 29 say "yes!" So to fill their remaining seats, colleges with these types of yields will use merit aid. They use this money to get more students to say yes to them, but more importantly to say "no" to some other college.

Colleges with lower yields will more likely negotiate with you on the award. Yes, a lot of colleges will negotiate.

PS. If you can share with me your test score along with your major, I might be able to point you towards some colleges that can pay you.

Danilo recommends the following next steps:

Listen to the podcast. Read the article.
Shoot me another message if you want!

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Ann’s Answer

Hi Katlynne,

Unfortunately, a lot of students are in your boat. To get an idea of what options you might have, I need to know a little more about what you've looked into. When you refer to financial aid, are you only looking at grants and scholarships, or are you considering student loans? I know you mentioned your parents don't have great credit, but that can actually help you. Also, what state do you reside in? Are you looking at schools in your state? Depending on your state there may be more options. Once I hear back, I can break down some options for you.

Thank you,