One of the many questions on any college application form is whether or not you will be applying for financial aid. Many students get stuck at this question for fear that it may hurt their odds of getting accepted. This is more so if their application can best be described as ‘borderline’. Will asking for financial aid put their application at a higher risk?
Many colleges in the United States practice need-blind admissions. This means they do not take the applicant’s financial need or request for financial aid into consideration when deciding whether or not to grant admission.
In those colleges where financial aid is a factor in the decision-making process, when you ask for financial aid, the admissions committee will communicate with the Financial Aid Office to discuss your actual level of need. These are known as need-aware admissions. This ‘level of need’ is what the admissions committee will take into consideration.
So Should You Ask?
In other words, you should not hesitate to ask for financial aid. Just applying will not hurt your acceptance odds, unless you are applying to a need-aware college. If you are applying to a college that is NOT need-blind, your ability to fund your own tuition without any institutional financial aid will play a role in your acceptance. Even then, you should go ahead and tick that box if you need financial aid. If any college rejects your application just based on this, you may be better off not attending that college anyway. After all, you do want to attend a college that you can afford.
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