Paying for College

Is FinAid Available to Those Who Did Not Apply from the Start?

Question: When my husband filled out financial aid forms, our EFC turned out to be more than $50,000. As a result, our daughter--who will be a college freshman in the fall--did not apply for any financial aid. Does failing to apply this year hurt us if we need to apply in future years?

Colleges often do have policies that restrict aid applications from students who did not initially apply for financial aid. Most commonly, if a student did not ask for aid as an entering freshman, you may find that he or she can't reapply for aid until junior year.

What you might want to do at this point is to contact the financial aid offices at the colleges on your daughter's list and ask:

1. If they impose such restrictions (and for how long)

2. If so, is it too late to complete a FAFSA (and other required aid forms) with the understanding that you are NOT expecting aid for this coming September?

3. If you can't apply for grant aid (the good stuff you don't have to pay back) next year (or in other years) will you still be able to seek loans through the college? (Likely)

4. Are there any other suggestions they can offer, should your family require financial aid in the future?

Once your daughter's admission verdicts have rolled in, if she has several attractive choices, you may want (or need) to consider financial aid policies as she makes her final choice.

Meanwhile, don't hesitate to call or e-mail financial aid offices and find out what each college's policy is because they are likely to vary.