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Consumer Reports: How to get financial aid if you need it

Posted at 4:00 AM, Jul 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-22 09:34:49-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - If your family was financially affected by the coronavirus pandemic, you can appeal a financial aid offer even if you’ve already accepted a package.

“Contact the financial aid office and ask for the aid officer to take new information into consideration and adjust the award," says Consumer Reports Money Editor, Penny Wang.

A good reminder: Keep all documentation about your current financial situation handy and up to date!

You can also ask about emergency grants from your school. Enrolled college students who receive federal financial aid who were affected by the pandemic may be eligible for extra help through the coronavirus relief package.

If you still need to cover some of the costs for college and need to get student loans, interest rates on federal loans are 2.75%, a record low.

“Your best bet is to stick with federally backed loans, which have fixed interest rates and more flexible payment options compared with private loans," says Wang.

While there are colleges still undecided on whether they’ll offer the in-person classes in September that many students look forward to in their college experience, make sure you understand your college’s refund policy before putting any money down.