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What do you do when the economic recession hits home?

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The Baltimore Sun ran an article today about the increasing number of students calling their financial aid offices in a panic.

Although the article is focused on schools in the Baltimore – Washington area, the message applies to colleges and universities across the country, I’m sure.

Job losses are increasing every month, which means more and more families are facing insurmountable financial hardships. When paying for college becomes impossible (even with financial aid already in place), students and their parents are turning to their financial aid officers in despair.

There are two pieces of good news, according to this article:

1. Schools have emergency funds in place to handle middle-of-the-year financial crises. Those funds are getting tapped out sooner and faster than ever before, but there is money there.

2. You can retroactively apply for some forms of federal financial aid, including the Pell Grant and subsidized student loans.

The bottom line: If your family’s situation takes a turn for the worse, call your financial aid officer immediately. There might be scholarships, grants or loans that you were previously ineligible for but you now qualify for. Just don’t wait too long or the funds could be exhausted.

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