As acceptances roll in, they often include merit aid awards. Many students and parents are so thrilled to see these that they don’t look further– but they should! If your student received a merit award, visit the school’s merit awards website to see if there is a higher level of award that’s within reach– say, a nominal GPA improvement away. If so, contact the school to find out if they would move the student up to the higher award if they were to achieve that criterium before finishing high school. (This tip came from a friend whose daughter’s GPA was slightly below an award that would be worth an extra $6,000. The school agreed that if she brings her GPA up, she will get the higher award.) As is so often the case, you don’t get what you don’t ask for.