Report: Astute navigation of college financial aid process can help consolidate debt

Playing the financial aid game While many American families have struggled recently to balance their competing financial priorities, the Wall Street Journal recently reported that a major one – college costs – can be more easily dealt with by working the financial aid system.

Wall Street Journal writer Jane Kim says that "if your financial circumstances have changed materially at any time, ask the aid office to review your aid package. Under a ‘professional judgment review,’ financial-aid officers can make adjustments to the aid package if there have been material changes to the family’s income or assets."

Kim lists several other strategies, both short- and long-term, for lessening the financial burden of attending a college or university. Downturns in property value, if properly detailed on a student’s financial aid paperwork, can be worth "several thousand dollars," according to one expert quoted in Kim’s story.

While these tips could help turn a crippling financial burden into a more manageable one, many Americans have been forced to postpone attending college by budgetary issues, sometimes indefinitely.