Student Loans FAQs
Financing your education isn't impossible. Financial aid and scholarships are available. You just have to know where to look and invest the time in doing your homework so you can benefit from the resources that are available to you.
Where do I begin? This is all new to me.
Begin by visiting our Student Planning page. You’ll find webinars, tips on planning for college, student loan information, and best of all – it’s all FREE! You can also sign up to speak one-on-one with a free College Access Counselor.
My Grades aren't perfect. Am I still eligible for Financial Aid?
While getting good grades is very important, there are other things that are taken into consideration. Financial aid is awarded based on two primary factors, financial need and merit. Merit- based aid is awarded to students who meet or exceed certain requirements. Merit-based aid is also awarded to students who excel in certain subjects, activities, or qualify based on non-financial need characteristics. After receiving need-based or merit-based aid, most students are required to maintain a minimum GPA in order to continue receiving the award.
Does the type of College I want to attend affect how much Financial Aid I get?
For example, what if I want to go to a private college instead of a public university or vice versa? Yes, the school that you choose may have an impact on the type of aid you receive as well as how much aid you receive. Not all institutions of post-secondary education are eligible for federal and state aid; therefore the amount of money a student receives may be limited. Also the cost of education plays a major role in determining the amount of aid that a student will receive. (A student may receive more money for attending a school that costs $40,000 annually versus a school that only costs $5,000 annually.)
What do I have to pay back and when do I start making payments?
Grants and scholarships generally do not have to be repaid. Student loans, both private and federal, must be repaid. Repayment usually begins six months after the student graduates; however it is best to check with the lender for the specific repayment terms before applying for the loan.
If I want to go to an expensive College or University, will I get more money?
The cost of education at each school plays a major role in determining the amount of aid that a student may receive, however it is not the only factor so there are no guarantees that you will receive more money.
Is a less expensive school better?
Choosing the right school can be an overwhelming decision. While the cost of the school is important, it's a good idea to consider other factors such as the location, class size, available majors, and graduation rates as well. Also consider social culture on campus and overall campus environment.
What's the timeline for applying for Financial Aid?
Scholarship searches should be at the beginning of your senior year and continue until you have graduated. FAFSA should be completed as early as October 1. See the following link for a more detailed timeline. http://www.pheaa.org/partner-access/toolkit-downloads/fin-aid/pdf/Timeline.pdf
How does my family's income factor into how much Financial Aid I'll get?
The primary purpose of the FAFSA is to determine the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) for the student; therefore, the family's income plays a major role in determining how much financial aid you will receive. The student's income as well as the student's parent's income is considered.
My parents are divorced. How could this affect my Financial Aid?
Generally, you will provide the income information for the custodial parent and their spouse, if remarried.
I think a Trade school is better for me. Can I still get Financial Aid?
Yes, financial aid is available to eligible students who are attending eligible post-secondary education institutions. Check with the financial aid office at the school(s) you are interested in to find out which types of aid each school offers.
Can you get Financial Aid directly from the College or University?
Yes, campus-based aid may be awarded by the school in the form of grants, work-study and scholarships.