If your income has changed since you filled out financial aid applications or even since you have been awarded a financial aid package, you still have time to seek more aid.
In this bad economy things do change. Now, if your assets have declined (stock portfolio value or house value), that will not determine your financial aid package, but income does affect financial aid awards. If you have been laid off, have had to take furloughs, or have changed jobs and now earn a lesser salary, that will impact your ability to pay for your son’s or daughter’s education.
Within 10 weeks you should be in touch with the college financial aid office and speak with either the financial aid office director or an associate. If you were laid off in January, you should be contacting the college’s financial aid office by the end of April. If your son or daughter has not yet enrolled at a college, once s/he has chosen, be sure to call the college’s financial office before making a deposit on the fall semester cost. What you will need is documentation, things such as a severance letter or a salary letter that shows your income this year is less than what you earned last year.
Then the negotiation begins. Even though times are difficult, even at colleges, it’s exactly because of this bad economy that colleges are using what resources they have to provide more financial aid. It’s very possible that the college you are dealing with will give more. But, have a talk with your son or daughter, too. While colleges may give more, they will also expect more. You son or daughter may need to think about earning more this coming summer or taking on a work study job in the fall.