Dear Estelle. I am currently completing the common application and in conversations with my parents am worried about whether to check “yes” or “no” to the question “Will you be seeking financial aid?” My folks don’t think we will qualify but what if we do and I haven’t checked “yes.” Conversely, what impact will checking “yes” have on my acceptance to the colleges where I’m applying. I just want to do the right thing. TRJ, student, Littleton High School
This is a question that comes up repeatedly with clients as they complete the common application. Presumably this part of the application is considered “need blind” meaning the admissions office doesn’t consider one’s need in evaluating your application. If you answer “no” and you subsequently need aid to attend school you should complete the FAFSA in early January. If you check “yes” and find you don’t need aid you will not be penalized. This year’s application also includes a box where you can check whether you are applying for merit aid. If your academic record is exemplary and you might qualify for merit aid be sure to check it.
Remember that many colleges require the PROFILE which is found on the College Board website. This type of aid comes directly from the colleges and not the government.