FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What Clients Want to Know
1. I PROBABLY DON'T QUALIFY FOR FINANCIAL AID. SHOULD I SUBMIT A FAFSA ANYWAY?
Yes. Many families mistakenly think they don't qualify for federal funds and prevent themselves from receiving financial aid by failing to apply for it. In addition, there are a few sources of aid such as Direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans that are available regardless of need. You will also miss out on school and state grants, if you don't apply. The FAFSA form is free. There is no good excuse for not applying.
2. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PRIVATE STUDENT LOANS AND FEDERAL LOANS?
Federal loans are funded through the government and are strictly regulated. To qualify for them, you must fill out the FAFSA®. Private loans, on the other hand, are not subsidized by the government.
If you choose to move forward with a private student loan, you’ll probably want to check with the school you’ll be attending to see which lenders they work with. Then you can apply directly through the those lenders. If your school doesn’t have that information handy, you can always check with the lender you’re considering to see if they work with your school.
Your credit history (and your parents’ credit history) is not considered for most federal student loan options (federal PLUS loans are a notable exception), although it often is considered as part of the application for a private student loan. And while financial need is a factor for federal loans, it isn’t for private ones.
It’s important to investigate all options, speak to a qualified financial advisor, and make the best possible choices for your situation (which may ultimately involve a mixture of the both federal and private student loans), as taking out a private student loan can result in a loss of federal benefits, like income-based repayment options or loan forgiveness
3. DO I HAVE TO REAPPLY FOR FINANCIAL AID EVERY YEAR?
Yes. Most financial aid offices require that you apply for financial aid every year. If your financial circumstances change, you may get more or less aid. After your first year, you will receive a "Renewal Application" which contains preprinted information from the previous year's FAFSA. Note that your eligibility for financial aid may change significantly, especially if you have a different number of family members in college. Renewal of your financial aid package also depends on your making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree, such as earning a minimum number of credits and achieving a minimum GPA.
You are not eligible for new loans and grants. The government can also seize tax refunds, garnish wages without a court order, take a portion of Social Security payments, and charge very large collection fees.
5. ARE MY PARENTS RESPONSIBLE FOR MY EDUCATIONAL LOANS?
No. Parents are, however, responsible for the Federal PLUS loans. Parents will only be responsible for your educational loans if they co-sign your loan. In general, you and you alone are responsible for repaying your educational loans.
6. I RECEIVED AN OUTSIDE SCHOLARSHIP, SHOULD I REPORT IT TO THE FINANCIAL AID OFFICE?
Yes. If you are receiving any kind of financial aid from university or government sources, you must report the scholarship to the financial aid office.
Unfortunately, the university will adjust your financial aid package to compensate. Nevertheless, the outside scholarship will have some beneficial effects. At some universities, outside scholarships are used to reduce the self-help level.