College Fees: Financial Help for Low-Income Families (page 2)

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Updated on Oct 22, 2012

Negotiated financial aid. When students are accepted to a college, they're also told how much the college will give them in grants, scholarships, loans and other financial aid. But these offers aren't set in stone. You can always ask a college's financial aid office if it's possible to get more aid, especially if your family has special circumstances like high medical bills.

"Your first package does not have to be your final answer," says Shonda Goward, founder of First Generation University, a website that helps students become the first in their families to go to college. She notes that students are more likely to get financial aid if they're attending a private school or in-state public school.

Most importantly, don't be afraid to ask for help. The costs that come along with a college education can seem daunting. But admissions counselors and financial aid officers at the colleges your child is considering can tell you about ways each school can help low-income students and how to find out if your family is eligible.

If a college sees your student's potential, admissions and financial aid staff can often relieve some of the financial burden. This is especially true for students who have special talents, like prowess in art, writing or science.

"They want good applicants," says Goward, who is also an academic advisor at George Washington University. "Schools are looking to diversify their population in more than one way."

A college education is a major expense for any family. Fortunately, colleges recognize that families with fewer financial resources have an especially hard time coming up with the money for additional costs. If you ask, you might get the extra help you need to make college possible for your child.

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