Paying for College

Three Reasons You Might Deny Some Financial Aid

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Financial aid can sometimes feel like a spiderweb that only gets stickier the more you try to maneuver through it. There are plenty of things to think about — ways for your family to represent assets to score more help, what saving for college means for the aid you'll receive and how to negotiate for a better aid package. But so much time can go into snagging the most financial assistance that by the time any decisions arrive in your mailbox, one question might never have occurred to you: Should you turn down any part of an aid package?

Now, in general, I don't suggest turning down any aid for one main reason: You could be endangering future aid by signaling to the Financial Aid Officers (FAOs) that you can find the money elsewhere. And that doesn't bode well if things were to change in your financial situation when you have to apply again the next year. (Yes, you have to apply for financial aid each year you attend college — the FAFSA isn't a one-stop shop!) However, there are exceptions to every rule. So while I'd rarely suggest that you turn down financial aid when it's offered to you, here are a few cases in which you might consider doing so, as well as some details to help you weigh both sides.

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