Paying for College

When to Explain Extenuating Circumstances to Financial Aid Offices?

Question: If we have a high EFC and extenuating financial circumstances should we send a letter to the financial aid office asking for special consideration before we receive their financial aid award or wait until we receive it?

You should definitely send an explanatory letter to colleges at the time that you apply for aid–or as soon thereafter as possible. Do not wait until you receive your aid award. If you have documentation that backs up your explanation (e.g., the nursing home bills you pay for Grandma), send copies with your letter.

However, like most things in the admissions world, the responses to your situation may be inconsistent. One college might take your extenuating circumstances into account; the next school might not.

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