What to do when Financial Aid Doesn't Come through ...

So you did it, finally! You got into your dream school, but then financial aid didn't come through. The way things look now, you're going to be up to your eyeballs in debt by the time you graduate. But don't lose hope yet! There are still tons of options for your life after a financial aid flop.

1. Research

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The first step in any sticky situation is to always do your research! Every college is different; they have different reputations for giving out lots of financial aid or being stingy with it, different policies for appealing, and different types of awards, such as work study. Find out more about your school's financial aid office by emailing them, talking to alumni, and reading on their website before you call crying about how your financial aid didn't come through.

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Once you feel like you have a pretty good idea of what you want to say when you contact your college’s financial aid office, call them. Have both you and your parents call so they see how serious you truly are about attending their school. Doing so will put you on their radar, give you more information, and possibly result in a greater financial aid package!

3. Call Again

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Persistence is key! The more times you call, the more the school will recognize you. Remember, it's not robots determining your future, it's real-life human beings just like you and me! They want to make all of the school's resources available to prospective students in need of financial aid. When you make it obvious that you and your parents have your hearts set on attending, you'll have a better chance at increasing your reward. But make sure you don't contact them so much that you sound annoying!

4. Look for outside Scholarships

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Every year, millions of dollars in scholarships go unclaimed for one simple reason: laziness. No one wants to apply for scholarships, but everyone wants to receive them. If you go the extra mile and look outside of your college for financial help, you might not have to give up your dream school just yet. A great site to look for scholarships is fastweb.com.

5. Make a GoFunDMe

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GoFundMe isn't generally used for college tuition, but there's no reason it can't be! Making a GoFundMe can help you significantly decrease the cost of attending college. Use social media to your advantage so all of your close family, friends, and relatives will try to help you out!

6. Weigh the Decision

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One of my favorite movies is Confessions of a Shopaholic and, if this decision is stressing you out, I suggest you take a brain vacation and watch this movie. Not just because of the cute clothes and eye candy, but because it teaches a very important lesson of distinguishing between cost and worth. If your college is really costly, but you know that with the degree you'll earn, connections you'll make, and experiences you'll have it will be worth the cost, then maybe taking out loans won't be a total mistake.

7. Explore Other College Options

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If, after watching the eye-opening aforementioned chick flick, you realize that this college is not worth the cost, perhaps it's time to explore other college options. Consider going to community college for the first two years, attending a cheaper four-year, or commuting to college instead of living on campus. No matter what, you'll enjoy college because it's all what you make of it!

Choosing a college should be an exciting experience! But, in some cases, it's mostly stressful. Don't give up just because you received less financial aid than you were hoping for, though! Fight for more or pursue another path. What's your advice for someone who's having financial aid issues?

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