Finding the means to pay for college can be quite a conundrum. Listed below are 25 questions to ask your Financial Aid Officer while visiting a college campus. Discussing this list of prepared questions on your visit will give you a clear understanding of the financial arena you are about to enter.

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Finding the means to pay for college can be disconcerting. Unfortunately, college graduates are consistently acquiring more student-loan debt year over year. Meeting with a Financial Aid Officer during your college visit makes good sense and may ease your mind about the financial obligations associated with your college education. This meeting may be the most stressful part of your visit, but try to keep a clear head to identify payment options. The 25 questions listed below are a great starting point for your discussion with your Financial Aid Officer. Bring this list of prepared questions on your visit and keep a notepad handy for recording the answers. You will gain a clearer understanding of the financial arena you are about to enter.


1. What types of financial aid do you offer students?

2. What are the requirements to receive different types of financial aid?

3. Do you offer need-based and/or merit-based financial aid?

4. How does your tuition payment plan work? If I don’t pay my tuition at the beginning of the school year, and I elect to pay my tuition in installments, is there a fee associated with this choice?

5. Is there an online account where I pay my tuition? Who do I contact if I have difficulty with this online service?

6. Will applying for financial aid influence the admissions committee decision?

7. If I qualify for financial aid, will you meet my financial needs, or do you find alternatives for me to meet my financial needs?

8. Do your requirements for financial aid eligibility vary from year to year?

9. Do you have a work-study program? If so, what are the stipulations and how does it work? What is my work schedule and required number of hours? What are my options?

10. If I don’t qualify for work-study, what part-time jobs are available on campus? Is it a competitive arena?

11. What types of scholarships are available? Do they have minimum grade point average requirements?

12. Can I find scholarships this college offers online?

13. Are there scholarships available for study-abroad programs? Are they need-based?

14. What types of student loans are available? Are the payments deferred? What about the loan interest, does it begin accruing immediately?

15. What is the average cost of tuition?

16. Will there be additional fees required for my major?

17. What is the average cost for books?

18. What are the dormitory costs? Are students allowed to live off campus?

19. Has tuition increased in the past five years? If so, by what percentage has it increased?

20. What forms do I need in order to apply for financial aid? What is the year over year process?

21. What is the deadline for financial aid applications?

22. Can I submit the FAFSA before I submit my taxes?

23. When will I receive my financial aid package?

24. If I change my major will I lose my financial aid and scholarship awards?

25. What is the average debt for graduates?


It may feel as though you are learning a new language while exploring your options to pay for college. If you do not understand what your Financial Aid Officer is speaking about, do not hesitate to ask for clarification. During your meeting, take detailed notes so you can refer to them later when you are searching for information. Also, before planning your college visit consider taking a virtual campus tour. For a list of websites providing virtual campus tours, financial aid information, and scholarship opportunities, visit College Pencilpedia. For more financial aid tips and a step-by-step approach for planning your college visits, purchase “The Ultimate College Application Guide” on Amazon today. Safe travels!

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