Transferring to a different college is relatively simple, but only if you have a plan set in place. While you may have been accepted to another school, this doesn’t mean your financial aid award goes with you. Depending on the type of aid you currently receive, you will likely have to fill out new forms and update your school information to ensure you’ll get the much-needed funds to succeed at the new college.
Update Your FAFSA Information
Current and prospective college students fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form every year to determine eligibility for federal grants and low-interest loans. Even if you already filled out the FAFSA, you might need to update some of the information before transferring to another school. This is done by updating the FAFSA with the new school’s code; simply log into the FAFSA homepage and navigate to the “Make FAFSA Corrections” page. Then click on the “School Selection” link and put in the new school’s information. After the application is reprocessed, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR).
Keep Both Colleges Informed
You may have transferred your transcripts already, but you still need to contact the financial aid offices from both schools. The original college must be informed you’re no longer attending -- to ensure that you won’t receive any money you might have to pay back. Also, touch base with the new college to make sure they receive all the necessary information needed to enroll. The financial aid office at the new school will determine how much financial aid you’re awarded based on the Student Aid Report. Contact the school if you don’t receive a financial aid award four weeks after getting the SAR.
Apply for School-Specific Aid
While most students rely on some form of federal aid to go to college, the schools may also offer money. Many colleges offer scholarships that are based on need, as well as excellent performance in certain disciplines. After submitting the FAFSA, contact the new college about scholarship programs. If you qualify, make sure you send in the necessary application requirements before the deadline. Remember that scholarships earned at your current college won’t transfer to the new school.
Coping With Reduced Funds
In some cases, transferring to a different college may mean you get less financial aid. There are a few reasons this happens. First, if you transfer during the academic year, the portion of the funds used at the first school are taken out of your award. This ensures you’re not receiving double funds. You may also get less financial aid if the new school costs less. Make sure you compare the costs between tuition and housing expenses -- remembering that federal financial aid is calculated based on need and cost of attendance. If you receive less money, look for other ways to put more money in your pocket. Buying used books, paid internships and part-time jobs can all help ease the costs of college.