Tips for Communicating with the Financial Aid Office

As you navigate the college financial aid process, you may experience some twists and turns that you didn’t expect. Rest assured that your institution’s financial aid staff want to help. They can provide answers to questions and concerns you may have. Not sure what to ask? The list below offers a good place to start:

  • When will I know how much financial aid I’ll be eligible to receive?
  • What types of financial aid does your school offer? 
  • If I’m awarded a scholarship, will it change the amount of aid I’m offered?
  • Does your college have a deadline for FAFSA submission? What are the consequences if I don’t meet the deadline?
  • Am I considered a dependent or independent student?
  • Is there a way to change my dependency status?
  • What should I do if I have circumstances that caused my financial situation to change?
  • What types of work-study jobs does the college offer and how many hours will I be required to work? How do I apply for other campus jobs?
  • Do you offer a payment plan that would allow me to make monthly payments throughout the year?
  • What is the average student loan debt for your graduates?

Each student’s situation can be different and many factors are considered to determine financial need. The financial aid staff at your school want to help, so be patient and provide them with all requested information. The more you know, the more you can help them assess your situation. For more on saving and earning money for school, check out Are You Looking for Money? and other valuable resources at