Financial Aid Changes After Job Loss

Q: If a parent has lost their job, but their child has already been awarded a financial aid package from the college, is there anyway to see if the college would award more money based on the parent’s new financial circumstances?

A: There is always the possibility that a school would be willing to change or negotiate a financial aid award package. In fact, schools can have some amount of financial aid money that becomes re-available because of students making the decision to attend different schools. For example, a school offers a student a financial aid award package, but that student ultimately decides to attend a different school. That unused financial aid award money can then become available to other students attending that school.

The best way to find out if more financial aid is available, is to simply contact the schools financial aid office and ask. Since a job loss is often considered a special circumstance, write a letter to the school requesting a special circumstance review or a financial aid appeal as a result of special circumstances. In the letter make certain to explain the changes in your finances as a result of the job loss/loss of income, and you may even wish to include any supporting documents that help verify the validity of your special financial circumstance (i.e. receipt of unemployment benefits). The schools financial aid administrator will then decide if the financial aid awarded package can/will be adjusted based on your special circumstance. Make certain to be polite in your letter and in any communications with the financial aid administrator, since there are really no options for appeal beyond him or her.

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