6 questions to boost college financial aid
Do outside awards impact your offer?
While it's always a good idea to look into grants and scholarships that are awarded by outside organizations, students and parents need to be aware of the possibility that those funds could end up reducing the amount that students receive from their schools.
"Many schools attempt to add an outside scholarship on top of your current awards, but it's not always possible," says Booker. "Find out if the school will reduce loans or other self-help awards before reducing institutional grant or scholarship funds."
If the outside scholarship ends up costing you more money than it's worth, you can always decline the award, Booker says. But to make an informed decision, students and parents need to contact the school's financial aid office before they accept an outside scholarship.