As students plan visits to college campuses, they may wish to schedule an appointment with a financial aid officer or, at the very least, be prepared with a list of financial aid questions for the admission representatives with whom they meet. Parents may want to arrange to meet with a financial aid officer while students are interviewing in the admission office.
Below is a sampling of important questions to ask when visiting a school:
• Does the college practice need-blind admissions?
• What percentage of students have their full need met?
• What percentage of students receive financial aid?
• Are merit scholarships offered? How do students apply for them and how are they chosen?
• Do the same financial aid procedures and policies apply for the entire four years?
• Will students receive a similar financial aid package during all four years if their family’s financial situation does not change?
• How are outside scholarships handled? Are they credited against the loan component of aid, the grant component, or the family contribution?
• Do students need a certain grade point average to keep an institutional grant? If so, what is it?
• Are there any tuition payment plans that will allow families to spread out their payments over a period of months?
• What is the policy with regard to noncustodial parents and stepparents? Are they expected to contribute if financially able?
• How much indebtedness can students expect after four years?
• Is home equity considered when financial aid is calculated?
• How many hours a week will students have to work to fulfill the Work-Study portion of their aid package?