Financial Aid Options
Financial Aid, FAFSA, Student Loans, Debt. These are words that always come up at the beginning of a semester and school year. For several undergraduate and graduate students, they rely on the help of loans (either government or private) to be able to attend school. Unfortunately, since the cost of attendance and tuition continues to rise, so does the need for financial assistance. Whether you're starting school or still studying, try not to get stuck on what it is you have to pay off or how much more you need. It's easier said than done that I know. However, do not start worrying about the future now.
Luckily, while still in school, students have the advantage of their debt payments being deferred. This means you are free from payments until you graduate! You can make payments if you’d like, but there is no stress of having to pay it off while in school. With this postponement, take the opportunity to research jobs and possible scholarships that can help pay off the debt faster once the deferment deadline arrives. It is unfortunate that for many in the United States, they face a HEFTY debt just to continue their education (which is not at all a bad thing). So remember, there are many ways to pay this off, but focus on the present and finishing school. Once you are done, there will be many affordable payment plans that will not put a dent in your budget, and you can pay it off quickly!
Financial Aid refund/credit
Financial aid is a blessing and a curse for anyone that needs it. You should ask yourself these questions if you're considering it:
Do I want to accept the total amount given to me?
Do I only want to select the amount that only covers tuition?
Do I decline the aid and any other additional amount?
I have outlined a few tips on how to manage these financial credits. Even though it is hard to believe, there are positive outcomes that come from receiving this credit. This varies for every person, but it's important to map out what debt you CAN and WILL pay off.
a) Reject/Decline the additional amount. It’s hard to believe that many people actually decline the additional amount financial aid gave them, but there are students that don’t require the extra money for personal use and just use the exact amount to just cover tuition. But if you don’t need it, you don’t need it. If you have a job, whether it be full-time or part-time, and can cover all your personal expenses, then use the financial aid to cover the tuition amount.
b) Accepting the additional amount. There is nothing wrong with accepting the financial aid refund/credit. For many, this credit can help pay off existing debt, personal expenses (rent, phone bill, car, insurance etc.) It is important to go over all financial responsibilities you have for the semester that way you can know whether to accept the total amount of the credit or just a portion of it.
c) Accepted, but returning some. It’s important to note that just because you accepted a total amount does not mean you have to keep it all. In many circumstances, students have realized that they do not need the entire refund/credit to get by. The good thing is you can return what you don’t need. If this is your case, verify with your financial aid office the deadline for returning any additional amount you don’t require.
Meet Bea Garcia, our Digital Marketing Intern! Bea is currently pursuing a M.A. in International Security at Georgetown University. She'll be sharing tips and tricks for students and recent grads.