For Those Who Are Denied FAFSA Funds
Even if you feel that you are well within the financial range for FAFSA approval, there are many reasons for the denial or exclusion of financial aid from the government. Many times, denial has more to do with technical or funding issues that it has to do with your own needs and finances, so the first thing that you should do is contact the FAFSA administration office and ask for an explanation. Once you have discussed where the application or approval went wrong, and have exhausted FAFSA as a funding source, you should ask the representative about the other programs available through the government that could help you on your way.
If you have been involved with a financial aid consultant, you will want to speak with him or her as well, confirming that aid has been denied and that you are still in need of assistance. The most popular alternative to the FAFSA approval would be the federal PLUS loan or the direct PLUS loan, and these are taken out by parents of dependent undergraduate children. With these loans, financial need is not determined, and no assets or other information is used to determine the loan. This is a college funding resource that is only available to credit worthy adults, so the application is almost like a mortgage or car loan application would be.
These are low interest loans that are specialized for education only, and any financial aid or scholarship funding will need to be reported so that it can be deducted from the overall loan. Using these specialized loans, parents can fund their child’s entire education without breaking the bank. Payments tend to be low and manageable, and many graduates are able to take over the payments once they are practicing in the field of their major.
Next, the Stafford or direct loan from the government should be investigated. These loans are referred to as in-student deferred, and this means that they are not payable while a student is attending college half-time or better. Because these loans are backed completely by the national government, interest rates are well below the going notional rate on any other type of college funding. Most receive the monies from a third party entity, such as Sallie Mae or Chase. These are ideal loans for those students whose major will ensure a better than average wage once they have graduated.
Even if you have received limited scholarship money, financial aid, and loan funds for higher education, you might still want to do a detailed search for merit-based funds in your area. Many small scholarship committees hide themselves and try to award money quietly, mainly because they are small groups and cannot afford to help very many students each year. If you make yourself and your needs known to them, however, you stand as good a chance as any of landing more than a few extra dollars toward your schooling. You will only know if you try, but be wary of scholarship finding services who ask for money from you.