Being a college student comes with its own challenges. Being a transfer student, however, can come with a whole new set of obstacles. Plenty of students are able to make the switch successfully, though. With that in mind, the experts at ScholarSwag explain how a move between schools could affect your financial aid package and how you can involve yourself in the process.
Points to ponder
First and foremost, you should know that financial aid, specifically campus-based scholarships, does not transfer directly between schools. As Fastweb.com shared, it’s quite possible you’ll receive similar awards, but the amounts themselves could differ. The new college will need to recalculate your package using information from your FAFSA.
Your financial aid package probably won’t differ too much between schools, but there is a chance you could wind up with less aid, noted U.S. News & World Report. This is especially true for mid-year transfers – as many schools award aid on a first-come, first-serve basis. The Princeton Review expanded upon this point, adding that some colleges and universities set aside a designated amount of funds specifically for transfer students.
U.S. News also added that while your existing student loans may not transfer accordingly, they can come back to haunt you. Upon exiting school, your federal loans will begin their six-month grace period. After that, you’ll be expected to start making payments. If you’re transferring, however, you can set up an in-school deferment. With that in place, you won’t be accountable for payments until you’ve graduated or dropped below half-time enrollment.
Steps to take
If all these points are melding together in your head, don’t worry. You can make the transfer process a little easier by following the five steps below:
1. According to Fastweb, you should inform your current school that you intend to transfer. Doing so will better enable you to take care of any issues that arise in a timely manner.
2. Similarly, you’ll need to contact your new school and let them know of your intentions. Ask about the application process as well as any deadlines.
3. As mentioned above, you’ll need to resubmit your FAFSA. However, you don’t necessarily need to file it again unless your financial circumstances have changed. Instead, as Fastweb pointed out, update your FAFSA form with the new college’s information – more specifically, under the colleges you’re considering. Once complete, your financial information will be sent over to that school. You should have supporting documentation ready in case the financial aid office has any questions or needs clarification.
4. If applicable, place an in-school deferment on any existing student loans that are not transferring over to your new school.
5. Make sure your new school has a copy of your transcripts, recommendation letters from professors or any other additional documentation it requires.
Remember: Transfers are quite common. If you continuously communicate with both schools involved, you’ll find the process easier to navigate.
For more information on financial aid and college planning, please visit ScholarSwag‘s website!