Q:

I have been admitted to my dream college. My financial aid offer just isn't enough, so I might have to attend another school. Is there anything I can do to get more money? -- Very Needy

A:

You are definitely not alone. Many students receive financial aid offers that expect them to pay more than they want to. Don't give up! Scott Anderson, the founder and CEO of Edulaunchpad.com points out that instead you need to appeal the offer. You may be able to get a better offer. Incidentally, you are likely to get better results from an appeal to a private college than a state college, and a smaller school rather than a larger one.

The appeals process can take on many forms. Some schools have their own paperwork that you will need to complete to start an appeal. Other schools will accept just a letter from a student. Begin by checking the college's website under "financial aid" to find out the process for your school.

Mr. Anderson recommends that regardless of the specific process, all appeals should go to a representative in the college's financial aid office, if possible. The dean or administrator may be a good choice, but the better choice is the representative responsible for your award. A quick phone call to the financial aid office can get you that answer.

If you make a compelling argument in the appeal about why your financial aid offer should be increased, there is a good chance for success. Keep to the reason, and provide documentation for needing more aid, if possible. If other schools have offered more aid, point this out, as some schools will increase their offers because other colleges have offered more.

A great tip from Mr. Anderson is that the appeals process is not over when the awards have been given out. Once you arrive on campus, be sure to visit the financial aid office. Many students do not realize that dollars that had been allocated to other students earlier might now be available because some of those students did not come to the college.

Visit www.edulaunchpad.com to find out more about why you should appeal, ways to prepare to appeal and how to appeal. The website also has free tools that you can use to maximize the opportunities and minimize the cost of attending college.