Given the yearly tuition increases at colleges nationwide, paying for education is no small feat. That’s why we’ve created this handy list of ways in which you can increase your likelihood of receiving more financial aid!

Step 1) Add an ethnic-sounding suffix to your last name

Fact: Names ending with “-onzalez” or “-chu”  statistically receive more scholarships and grants than names ending with “-rown” or “-mith”.  Meaning, Sara Johnson becomes Sara Jonzalenz. Or Luke Armstrong could become Luke Armstrongchu”. Be sure to adjust your new suffix accordingly.

Step 2) Worship a by-all-definitions unheard of deity

Fact: Christian and Jewish students are a dime a dozen. Find a faith that no one knows about. Hell, make up your own. However, do make sure your religion doesn’t end in “-ism;”  follow Ferris Bueller’s advice maintaining that “isms in general are not good”

Step 3) Declare residency in census-proven poor state

Fact: Even if you aren’t in financial need, if you surround yourself with people that are, your school will consider you in need by association. So surround yourself with historically impoverished areas and demographics. Think of the setting of Deliverance.

Step 4) Declare a niche/useless major

Fact: The more obscure/ this-doesn’t-serve-a-purpose of a major you select, the more chances you have of someone bestowing you money to fulfill your dreams in that career.  Care to minor in the always-useful addiction studies? Think your destiny may be in fiber and textile arts (BFA), jewelry and metalsmithing (BFA), modern foreign
language (BA), printmaking (BFA), or the invariably-popular surface pattern design (BFA)? Shoot for the moon with these majors that would otherwise call their validity into question. You’re sure to get the bucket loads of money necessary to compensate for the failed careers associated with them.

Step 5) Be weird

Here’s the mecca if you’ve somehow missed the aforementioned four steps. Be weird. Have an otherworldly experience that’s changed your perspective on illegal immigration. Think out your sob story and make it original. The sister in a wheelchair s shtick ain’t cutting it like it used to. Be creative. Your-sister-had-a-sex-change-and then-got-pregnant level of creative. Play up your uniqueness. Join the “Modern foreign language majors with transgendered siblings” club and hold office. Be passionate about something. But, be careful of what you choose. While creating a BP fan club may prove your originality (which scholarship programs do love), it may also prove  your social ineptness which no scholarship program wants to endorse. Lastly, play to your strengths. If there is one type of student that financial aid targets, it’s Jen Vanderbiltonzalenz, whose mother was almost mistakenly reported dead after a car accident in which police confused the deceased and injured victims which happened after her family drove away from the town-swallowing sinkhole in their previous home of Nowheresville, Alabama at which point Jen found god in the Bahai` Faith and decided to make it her life dream to major in jewelry design and help other Syracuse University jewelry makers handle anxiety by starting the Jewelry Makers Dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Following Local Police Officials’ Misidentification of Living-But-Thought-to-Be-Dead-Family-Members-Club, or JMDPTS DFLPOMLBTBDMC, for short. Follow Jen’s example and consider yourself a surefire for financialaid-fueled fun.

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