Financial Aid Consultant: Things you need to look for when choosing one

Post By: COYD Staff

financial aid consultantIn the previous post, we talked about some of the pros and cons of using a financial aid consultant. If, after you’ve done your research, you still believe you need a financial consultant, below are things you need to pay attention to when hiring one.

1. Steep fees

I have read reports of some consultants charging over $600 an hour. Make sure the numbers work out. If you are hiring a financial aid consultant that will cost you more than they will save you, it doesn’t make sense. Also, a higher fee doesn’t always mean better service. If the financial aid consultant is known to charge high fees, there is a chance the financial aid office might perceive the hiring of a financial aid consultant as a privileged service (“luxury”) that might reduce your perceived need for financial aid.

2. Credentials and qualifications, references

Is he/she a Certified Public Accountant? Or a Certified Financial Planner? Has this consultant worked at a financial aid office before? Does he/she have any references that you can call?

3. Is he willing to sign the FAFSA?

A financial consultant is required to sign the FAFSA like a tax preparer is required to sign a tax return. If he is not willing to sign it, then be wary.

4. Call the financial aid office and ask if they have heard of the consultant you are considering.

Financial aid offices are aware of the bad apples in this industry. Run the name of the financial consultant by the university’s financial aid office, and they can let you know if they have a good reputation, bad reputation, or no reputation. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so vetting them out in every possible way is very important.

5. Gut feeling

If your gut tells you that this financial consultant is unethical or someone who likes to cut corners, then follow your gut and cut him lose. Numbers speak for themselves, and if you lie about your assets or income, you could end up with a substantial fine.


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