Frequently Asked Questions
Questions about financial aid (grants, scholarships, and loans)
- Who should apply for financial aid?
- How do I apply for financial aid?
- When do I apply for financial aid?
- If I receive a scholarship, will it affect the amount of financial aid I receive from my college?
- I plan to go to school part time. Can I get financial aid?
- I am not living with my parents and receive no support from them. Can I file as a self-supporting student?
- How do I choose a lender?
- Where is my Master Promissory Note?
- What is the difference between a subsidized and unsubsidized Direct Loan?
- What is the status of my loan?
- When am I going to receive my loan funds?
- How do I cancel my loan?
- How do I contact my lender?
- How do I reapply for a loan this year?
- When will my Direct Loan enter repayment?
- How can I apply for a deferment or forbearance?
- Do I qualify for loan forgiveness?
- I have defaulted on a student loan. Am I eligible for additional financial aid so that I may return to school?
- Can I still get a student loan if I file or have filed for bankruptcy?
Who should apply for financial aid?
Anyone who is considering attending a postsecondary educational institution and feels they may need financial assistance should apply. There are many factors taken into account when packaging student aid, so the only way to know for sure whether or not you are eligible is to apply.
How do I apply for financial aid?
If you are a first-time financial aid applicant, you need to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The preferred method of completing the FAFSA is online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. You may also request one from the U.S. Department of Education at 1-800-4-FED-AID, contact the Financial Aid Office of the school you want to attend, or visit your local public library to pick one up.
When do I apply for financial aid?
You need to complete and send in the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1 of the fall academic year you plan to attend school. For example, if you plan to attend school in the fall of 2011, you need to complete an application as soon as possible after January 1, 2011. It also is a good idea to contact the financial aid office of the school to see what other guidelines and/or information are required.
If I receive a scholarship, will it affect the amount of financial aid I receive from my college?
Scholarships are usually looked at in one of three ways:
- to fill "unmet need," meaning need for which you or your parents will have to borrow more money;
- to reduce the amount of money you need to borrow to attend college; or
- to reduce your college's grant assistance to you.
Call your school's financial aid office for specific information on how your school treats scholarships.
I plan to go to school part time. Can I get financial aid?
Many aid programs are available to students who attend school at least half time. Some institutions give preference to full-time students.
I am not living with my parents and receive no support from them. Can I file as a self-supporting student?
If you are under 24 years of age, you must file as a dependent student unless you meet certain criteria. Get a FAFSA for detailed information. If you do not meet the criteria on the FAFSA, contact your school to discuss your situation.
How do I choose a lender?
Most school financial aid offices have a list of lenders that participate in the student loan program. You are provided the opportunity to choose the lender. If you already have a relationship with a particular lending institution or credit union, you may want to see if they offer student loans to their customers or members.
What is the difference between a subsidized and unsubsidized Direct Loan?
The subsidized Direct Loan is awarded on the basis of financial need, which is determined by the information you provide on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). If you qualify for a subsidized loan, the federal government pays interest on the loan (subsidizes the loan) until you begin repayment and during authorized periods of deferment thereafter.
The unsubsidized Direct Loan is not awarded on the basis of need. If you qualify for an unsubsidized loan, you will be charged interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. You can choose to pay the interest while you are in school and during your grace and authorized deferment periods or allow it to accumulate. If you allow the interest to accumulate, it will be added to the principal amount of your loan and will increase the amount you have to repay. If you pay the interest as it accumulates, you'll repay less in the long run.
What is the status of my loan?
You should contact your financial aid office or lender to determine the status of your loan. Keep in mind that the loan application process has several steps, so you should give the process some time to work through.
When am I going to receive my loan funds?
You should refer to the loan documents from your loan servicer or with your financial aid office for more information about the requested disbursement dates.
How do I cancel my loan?
Contact your financial aid office if you want to reduce or cancel your loan amount.
How do I contact my loan servicer?
Mapping Your Future doesn't have information about your loans or your lender. Look for your loan servicer's contact information in your loan documents. If you're unable to find this information, locate them now for more guidance.
How do I reapply for a loan this year?
Contact your financial aid office about the loan application process.
When will my Direct Loan enter repayment?
After you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, you have a grace period of six months before you begin repayment on your Federal Stafford and Direct Loans. Your first payment will be due after your grace period expires.
If you return to school at least half time before your grace period expires, you will retain the entire 6-month grace grade period for your loans.
How can I apply for a deferment or forbearance?
If you have a Federal Stafford or Direct Loan, contact your loan holder to apply for a deferment or forbearance. If you have a Federal Perkins Loan, contact your school.
Do I qualify for loan forgiveness?
If, based on the loan forgiveness chart and its linked definitions, you think you are eligible for loan cancellation, contact your loan holder for an application. Mapping Your Future isn't able to make determinations on borrowers' eligibility for loan forgiveness. Be sure to contact all of your loan holders, and don't stop making payments until you receive written notification that your loan has been cancelled from each one, if applicable. If only a portion of your loan was cancelled, update your records with your new balance after verifying the information with your loan holder.
I have defaulted on a student loan. Am I eligible for additional financial aid so that I may return to school?
If you arrange a payment schedule with the holder of your defaulted loan and if you make the payments on time, you may regain eligibility for additional financial aid, which includes grant aid and loans. Interested borrowers should contact their loan holder to receive more information about these programs and their requirements.
Can I still get a student loan if I file or have filed for bankruptcy?
If you meet the rest of the eligibility requirements you cannot be denied a federal loan or grant just because you have filed for bankruptcy. You should contact your lender with questions specific to your circumstances.
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