Switching schools is a significant life change and opportunity for a fresh start. You get to explore a new campus and meet different people.
But, if we’re honest, switching schools can also be stressful. There are a lot of things to consider when making the big move.
One of the most important considerations? Whether or not your financial aid will follow you to your transfer school.
Realize that your financial aid does not automatically transfer. You will have to take steps to ensure you get loans, grants, scholarships, etc., at your new college.
Luckily, we’re here to help. Read on to learn how to transfer your financial aid to your new school successfully.
Step 1: Edit Your FAFSA
When switching schools, you should edit your FAFSA ASAP. This will ensure your financial aid transfers with you.
What Is the FAFSA?
FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The form requests information about your income, your parents’ income (if you’re a dependent), etc. It also asks you to list up to 10 colleges you’re interested in attending.
Your FAFSA will be processed anywhere from three days to three weeks after you submit the form. You’ll receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) that estimates how much federal student aid you’ll receive.
The colleges you listed will receive your FAFSA and calculate how much they can give you. They will send out award letters soon after admission that detail loan amounts.
Do I Need to Resubmit My FAFSA?
Realize that you need to resubmit the FAFSA every year. If you need to submit a new FAFSA for the year, be sure to list the name of the school you’re transferring to.
If you already submitted your FAFSA for the year and are transferring to a new school, you don’t need to submit a whole new form. You just need to edit the form that’s already on file.
You can edit your FAFSA online or via phone/email. Click here to learn more about these methods. Once you get into your account, list your transfer school as one of the colleges you want your FAFSA to be sent to. If all ten slots are filled up, delete the name of a school you’re no longer interested in.
Step 2: Compare Financial Aid Packages
Once you resubmit/edit your FAFSA, your transfer college will receive the form. The school will use it to determine the amount of financial aid they can offer you.
Note that you may not receive the same loans that your current college provides. You should compare each school’s package to confirm that you can afford the new cost of attendance.
Step 3: Settle Your Account at Your Current School
Before transferring, you should go to your current college’s financial aid office. Inform them of your plans to transfer.
Your advisor should help you ensure that your account is fully settled. If you have missing payments, your school might withhold your transcript. This can throw a wrench in the transfer process.
Are you transferring in the middle of the year? You should also ask your advisor to help you cancel any remaining loan disbursements.
Cautions for Transfer Students
Your financial aid won’t automatically transfer. You have to ensure you update your FAFSA, settle your account at your current school, etc.
Even when you follow these steps, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the same amount of aid. That’s because colleges have different policies and available loan funds.
So, even if you remain eligible for federal aid, you may receive more or less than the amount you receive at your current college.
Other factors that affect how much you get include:
- The school’s requirements for receiving independent funds. For instance, let’s say you qualify for merit-based scholarships at your current college. You won’t get the money from these scholarships at your new school. However, you might qualify for similar merit-based scholarships at your new school.
- Whether or not you transferred in the middle of the semester. Transferring in the middle of the semester might put you further down on the waitlist for federal funds.
- Whether you are transferring to an in-state/out-of-state school.
- Whether or not you meet the SAP standards of your new school.
Who Should You Contact for Help Transferring Aid?
If you get stuck during the process, go to your new and current college’s financial aid offices. They will be able to give you advice specific to your situation.
If you have trouble resubmitting/editing your FAFSA, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-433-3243.
You can also call this number if you want to check the status of your SAR. If you haven’t received your SAR within three weeks of resubmitting/editing it, you’ll definitely want to call this number.
3 Transfer Resources to Bookmark for Further Information
For the most part, transferring your financial aid should be simple. The most pressing problem people have is that they have to wait for the paperwork to go through. This is why it’s important to start the process as early as possible.
That being said, you might run into other issues along the way. Here are some of the best resources for further information:
- Federal Student Aid. This website comes directly from the U.S. Department of Education. It has all the information you need to know.
- College Data. College Data has plenty of guides on the FAFSA, transfer process, etc.
- Best Colleges. Similar to College Data, Best Colleges helps you navigate the process and solve common issues transfer students have.
Ensuring your financial aid follows you to your new college is important. So, don’t be scared to reach out for help.
Transferring schools can be stressful, but you have many resources to help you transition.
This guide will ensure you get the aid you need to attend your new college.
Need more help? Sign up at GrantEd today!