Tips for Working With the Financial Aid Office
The key to an easy and smooth financial process is working with the staff in the financial aid office. You’ll find the help you need to meet those deadlines and navigate the maze of financial paperwork required for college enrollment. Here are a few tips to work with them in this process.
The whole financial process can seem overwhelming at first, so be sure to ask questions so you’re clear on your next steps and know when your paperwork is due. If questions come to mind after talking with them, write them down and either email or call to get answers.
Start as early as you can.
Starting as early as possible will ensure you have plenty of time to fill out the necessary papers and submit before deadlines. This is especially helpful when you need to work with parents or other individuals to complete necessary forms.
Never miss a deadline.
Write those deadlines in your calendar or set reminders in your phone so you don’t forget. If possible, complete requirements or turn in documents several days ahead of deadlines to leave room for any necessary follow-up.
Build a good relationship with your financial advisor.
As you work through the financial process for college, you will likely know your financial advisor by name. Build a good relationship with that person from the beginning by providing your advisor with easy ways to contact you. Also find out the best way for you to contact your advisor (phone, email, IM, etc.).
Answer emails or phone calls, and communicate clearly especially if more information is needed or any changes occur in your situation.
Keep copies of forms you submit.
Keep copies of your financial forms and paperwork in an easy-to-access folder. This could come in handy if you need to refer to them or need to resubmit anything.
If you have any change in your circumstances, such as the recent loss of a job or any other event that has significantly impacted your financial situation, let your advisor know. Also inform them of any change of contact information, including phone, email and mailing address.
Keep in mind that your financial advisor really does want to help you. They are also often limited by state and federal rules and regulations. If you wait until the last minute to make financial arrangements, realize that the entire process will take longer, so be patient. If there’s a way to speed up the process or improve your financial package, your advisor will let you know.
The staff at your college’s financial aid office is on your team. Work with them for an easier financial process.