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FAFSA for student aid...any tips

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
So I talked with my teacher and admissions today. Because I am so close to passing and getting my GED and because I want to go straight into college I need to start my admissions.

My first step is 1 admissions paperwork and two the FAFSA. That thing is so confusing for me. A lot makes no sense to me at all. I know that I can print the paper out and all but I wanted to submit via the internet. Tonight I think I am gonna print it out and filled out what I can. Then tomorrow take that along with all my paperwork to financial aid and have them help me complete the paperwork. Once we get it filled in bring the paper home and put all the info in the system.

I am terrified I will put something in wrong and mess up getting any help with this. See I have 3 core classes, from what I have been told each one of those cost about 100 a piece. After that I have 7-11 other classes to take each with its own book. We are looking at 700-1100 dollars in books. Without some type of aid I don't know if I can afford that. And I know my credit is to bad for a loan, plus it would be a few years before I could even think of paying it off. Good thing is I will get a small Hope grant worth 500 dollars to use for school.

I guess I am just nervous and looking for some encouraging words.
post #2 of 14
I am a student and have been for the past two years. You can do your FAFSA online at www.fafsa.gov. If you don't qualify for financial aid, you can still get student loans and the amount you can receive depends on how many credit hours you are in school. You don't have to have good/any credit to obtain these loans. You also don't have to pay them back until 6 mos. after you graduate. If you are concerned about completing the FAFSA correctly, perhaps you could speak with a representative in the financial aid office as they usually will help you.

Good luck
post #3 of 14
I've been doing it for 6 years now

What sort of school are you planning on going to? Most 4-year schools do their financial aid for fall in the spring, which means if you want to start in Fall 09 you should apply to the school now and turn in your FAFSA Jan 1st (or as early as possible). You don't need to have your W-2s back yet-- you can estimate it and then go back and fill it in later (there are calculators and whatnot on the fafsa site that help you figure it all out looking at your final 2008 paycheck).

If you are going to enroll in a 2-year program or a certification or trade school, then a lot of them do their financial aid a little differently and you are likely to still be able to get at least something for next quarter/semester, though the earlier you apply for aid the more likely you are to get grants rather than loans.

Federal education loans are NOT dependent on your credit. The PLUS loans, which parents of traditional undergrads can get or grad students, and private loans are the only ones where your credit matters.

Your cost of attendance as estimated by the school will include housing, transportation, textbooks, etc. This means that you can get aid to help you cover the cost of textbooks and the like. Also, there are a lot of programs now that allow you to rent textbooks, buy online versions of them, buy them from other students via student-senate created programs, etc. (I work in textbooks sales). Many students now buy them off amazon, e-bay, etc, and they're often much cheaper. Also, your school's library may be required to have them, meaning you can go to the library and use them but not check them out.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Right now we are a tech college. Most of the courses tradionally take 2 years or less to complete if you go every quarter. But if for any reason you can not complete course in 2 years (say kids and can only take 2 quarters per school year) thats ok with them as well. Also I have heard through a few teachers we are trying to become a 4 year college.

I know I can get the app in now and it will be good for next quarter. Right now the FASA wants the info for the 2007 tax year (aka the one we filed in 2008) and in April I have to refile with 2008 tax papers.
post #5 of 14
They want to know your income because it will have an impact on the type of loan (subsidized or unsubsidized) that you are eligible for. I make too much to qualify for grants and the subsidized loan so I'm using the unsubsidized Stafford loans.
post #6 of 14
With student loans, you need to be careful and be in school at least half time or 6 credit hours for most schools. If you fall below that, then you will go into your grace period, which is the 6 month period after you leave school or fall less than half time for any reason. I can't count the number of times that a student has called us (I work for a student loan company) crying because they have to repay their loans and they are still in school part time. Make sure and keep the company that services your loan updated with your current address and phone numbers.

If you have any questions about student loans, just PM me and I will try to answer your questions.
post #7 of 14
Besides taking at least the minimum number of credit hours, there is also a minimum GPA that you need to keep to remain eligible.
post #8 of 14
The FAFSA is not hard to fill out online. And yes, you DO need your previous year's tax information, but it only wants you to plug in a few numbers. It is not complex. Mostly you are identifying yourself and whether or not you have any dependents or a spouse. Your family size and income are taken into consideration, and then compared to the cost of schooling (which includes tuition, books, fees, room and board, transportation costs, etc) to determine your financial need. Room and board and other stuff is estimated based on the area in which you live.

Federal student loans do not depend on your credit rating, they depend on your financial need. Anyone can get federal (Stafford) loans. People with more financial need will qualify for subsidized Stafford loans. Subsidized means that the federal government will pay the interest on your loans during the time you are in school and during your grace period (6 months after you graduate or stop going at least 1/2 time). Unsubsidized loans are loans where you are responsible for paying the interest while you are in school. You do not have to actually make payments on the interest while you are in school, though. They will add the interest to the principle of your loan if you want them to.

And although I sort of mentioned this already, you do not have to make payments on federal Stafford loans while you are going to college at least 1/2 time (6 credit hours) or during your deferment period, which is 6 months after you graduate or stop going to school at least 1/2 time.

So don't worry, it is not so bad. We are here to help!
post #9 of 14
The FAFSA is not hard to fill out online. And yes, you DO need your previous year's tax information, but it only wants you to plug in a few numbers. It is not complex. Mostly you are identifying yourself and whether or not you have any dependents or a spouse. Your family size and income are taken into consideration, and then compared to the cost of schooling (which includes tuition, books, fees, room and board, transportation costs, etc) to determine your financial need. Room and board and other stuff is estimated based on the area in which you live.

Federal student loans do not depend on your credit rating, they depend on your financial need. Anyone can get federal (Stafford) loans. People with more financial need will qualify for subsidized Stafford loans. Subsidized means that the federal government will pay the interest on your loans during the time you are in school and during your grace period (6 months after you graduate or stop going at least 1/2 time). Unsubsidized loans are loans where you are responsible for paying the interest while you are in school. You do not have to actually make payments on the interest while you are in school, though. They will add the interest to the principle of your loan if you want them to.

And although I sort of mentioned this already, you do not have to make payments on federal Stafford loans while you are going to college at least 1/2 time (6 credit hours) or during your deferment period, which is 6 months after you graduate or stop going to school at least 1/2 time.

The Federal government also provides Pell grants to students who demonstrate financial need, and these will never need to be repaid. They are grants, not loans. Hopefully you will qualify for a grant!

So don't worry, it is not so bad. We are here to help!
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by zorana_dragonky View Post
The FAFSA is not hard to fill out online. And yes, you DO need your previous year's tax information, but it only wants you to plug in a few numbers. It is not complex. Mostly you are identifying yourself and whether or not you have any dependents or a spouse. Your family size and income are taken into consideration, and then compared to the cost of schooling (which includes tuition, books, fees, room and board, transportation costs, etc) to determine your financial need. Room and board and other stuff is estimated based on the area in which you live.

Federal student loans do not depend on your credit rating, they depend on your financial need. Anyone can get federal (Stafford) loans. People with more financial need will qualify for subsidized Stafford loans. Subsidized means that the federal government will pay the interest on your loans during the time you are in school and during your grace period (6 months after you graduate or stop going at least 1/2 time). Unsubsidized loans are loans where you are responsible for paying the interest while you are in school. You do not have to actually make payments on the interest while you are in school, though. They will add the interest to the principle of your loan if you want them to.

And although I sort of mentioned this already, you do not have to make payments on federal Stafford loans while you are going to college at least 1/2 time (6 credit hours) or during your deferment period, which is 6 months after you graduate or stop going to school at least 1/2 time.

The Federal government also provides Pell grants to students who demonstrate financial need, and these will never need to be repaid. They are grants, not loans. Hopefully you will qualify for a grant!

So don't worry, it is not so bad. We are here to help!
LOL if you lived in California, I would have thought you worked where I work. There is nothing I could add to what you said.
post #11 of 14
In addition to the excellent advice you've already received, I'd like to add that you should try to get assigned to a financial aid officer/advisor, and always set up meetings with that same person. This really helped me when I was going to school; I kept in touch with my advisor throughout the semesters (not just when I needed her) and she knew all about the ups and downs in my life and she really helped me out.

Also, ask about scholarships at your school. You would be surprised how many there are out there for students in all kinds of different situations.

Good luck!
post #12 of 14
When I was first in college I picked up a printed copy of the FASFA and filled that out by hand, then went to the online one and filled it in to submit. That made it easier. Also I had one of the financial aid officers look it over for me. After doing it a couple times it was easy. I actually applied for a job in the financial aid office after I graduated. I think the only reason I didn't get that job was because in my second interview...the lady was a bear!
post #13 of 14
DD started college this fall; I got most of her books online (at half.com) and saved a ton. One book alone was $90 at the school bookstore---I bought if for $4 plus $4 shipping! Just make sure you have the correct ISBN number before you order.
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Does anyone here actually work as a student aid advisor? And if so can you Pm me I have a question.
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