Will Transfer Get Same FinAid as Frosh?

Question: I plan on transferring after one or two semesters at a four-year college. If I transfer, would I still get the same financial aid package as if I had been accepted freshmen year?

If your family's financial picture (income, assets, etc.) hasn't changed significantly since you were a senior in high school and there are no other additional household members in college, then your EFC (Expected Family Contribution) should be about the same when you apply to transfer as it was before your freshman year.

BUT ... not all colleges meet demonstrated need, especially for transfer students. This means that, even if your EFC is, say, $20,000 ... both now and when you're ready to transfer ... some colleges may expect you pay more. Thus, you can't base your transfer financial aid award on what you're currently being offered ... or might have been offered ... as a prospective freshman.

And when it comes to merit aid, colleges may have special scholarships that are specifically earmarked for transfers OR they may have none at all (or something in between). So in a year or two, you may do better ... or worse ... as a transfer. It's hard to predict. If you don't already have a specific transfer college in mind, you can certainly look ahead and research aid options for transfers at any schools you're considering.

Bottom line: The answer to your question is "Probably not." That is, you might end up with the same financial aid package, but you definitely can't count on it.