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When Financial Aid is Not Enough

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While applying for college and receiving acceptance letters can be exciting, reality quickly sets in as you figure out how you'll actually pay for college.

By now, you have already applied for financial aid and received your financial aid packages and made your decision about which college to attend. It was all very exciting—watching the acceptance letters and the financial aid packages come in. You probably felt super smart and accomplished.

But now some of the excitement has worn off. Reality has set in. You know how much you have in your bank account and how much your parents have put towards your college education. And your financial aid package just won’t foot the bill.

Due to rising tuition costs and the credit crunch, financial aid packages are not covering enough of the costs. So more and more students and parents are calling, writing, and even visiting more campuses to request more financial aid. Unfortunately, financial aid officers say that about half of those pleas will be denied. Most public colleges are bound by the federal government’s rules and can’t dole out extra funds.

How to beat the odds?

The best bet is to call or write a letter yourself. Don’t get your parents to call the financial aid office. Financial aid officers are more likely to approve a student’s appeal. So take the approach of being professional, mature, and responsible and they will be more impressed by you. Explain your financial situation, don’t forget to explain what you can add to college life. If you are a student that the school thinks will be an asset and if you are a deserving student who proves that you really need the help, you are more likely to get more cash.

And don’t suck up. Students and parents have been known to send chocolates and gifts. A department that deals with money can surely sniff out a bribe.

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