5 Financial Aid Tips from Excelsior College
StudentAdvisor had the opportunity to ask Tom Dalton from Excelsior College for 5 Financial Aid Tips. Tom has over 30 years of financial aid experience.
StudentAdvisor:What are some valid reasons for requesting a financial aid appeal?
Tom Dalton: It's fine to go back to the college's financial aid department to inquire whether further institutional resources might be available to you, to help close the gap between what's been offered and the total cost of attendance.
However, a more formal financial aid appeal can be made due to a variety of circumstances, such as a job loss in the family, demotion or other loss of income. The death of a parent or spouse is also grounds for a financial aid appeal, or if you, the student, encounter significant medical issues.
In addition, financial aid appeal can also be based on any significant educational debt already incurred by other family members.
SA: What are the best ways to prepare for the appeals process?
TD: Check with the College to see if they have an appeal process in place. Provide very specific details about the reasons for the appeal, and DON'T be vague. Include written documents to support your appeal. The financial aid administrator is required to document reasons for using his or her professional judgment in adjusting a financial aid award. If feasible, meet face-to-face with the financial aid administrator.
SA: What shouldn’t people do when re-negotiating financial aid?
TD: Focus on yourself and your own family situation, and don't try to compare your situation with another family or student. Always give all the facts about your situation don't try to cover up details about your issue.
SA: Anything we might have missed?
TD: Colleges today want diversification on their campus in terms of geography, gender, ethnicity and areas of study, so they award financial aid to balance these interests. Therefore, be open minded and have several choices to choose from Example: Your "first choice" college may be in your back yard, but that college may want geographic diversification. So they may award more grant money to an academically equal student from another state.
The same goes for academic major. Your number one college may have several thousand applicants for their business school and have just 300 spaces available. But the school of health sciences only has 400 applicants for 175 spots so the aid office is more aggressive with their aid packages for the school of heath science so the college meets enrollment goals. In this case they would be less likely to change aid in an appeal.
As assistant vice president for Enrollment Management, Thomas J. Dalton manages all aspects of financial aid within the Excelsior College Enrollment Management department. His department is focused specifically on financial assistance for Excelsior's non-traditional student population, including working adults, members of the military and veterans. He has more than 30 years of administrative financial aid experience in private and public sector positions in New York State.
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