Q. We will need financial aid but can pay for the first year from our savings. We worry that if we apply for aid in our son’s first year of college, his chances of acceptance will go down. Our question is, will we be able to go back and apply for aid for his second, third and fourth years…or even the first year?

A. You are asking two questions. To address the first, generally, the answer is no: applying for financial aid does not have an impact of whether or not your student will be admitted. However, at some of the more selective private colleges if there are two equally qualified students and one needs aid and the other does not, chances are that the one needing less aid (or none at all) will be admitted.

As to the second question, parents who wait to apply for aid after the student has been admitted will find that they will be denied institutional financial aid (i.e., the college’s own funds) though they can apply for federal funds. Further, they will be denied in the second year, too. Many of these colleges will insist that the student have earned up to 64 credits or two complete years before they’re allowed to apply for institutional financial aid.

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