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Old 09-01-2006, 11:07 AM   #1
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Financial Aid Question

Would anyone know what the limit on Financial Aid is? Do they stop giving Aid out once you reach a certain number?
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Old 09-01-2006, 11:19 AM   #2
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there are so many variables that it's next to impossible to give an answer...

i.e. what type of aid you're looking for... a loan, a grant, from the government, from the school, from a lender, your financial situation, your parents financial situation, your or your parents credit report, blah blah blah yadda yadda yadda
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Old 09-01-2006, 11:48 AM   #3
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Yeah, what headache said.

I'll tell you how it was for me and maybe that will help?

Tuition started at $26k/yr and I'm not aware of any cap on our FinAid. I applied for FinAid from the school and did the FAFSA. From the school, I received a school merit scholarship (you automatically get a certain amount based on your grades), a need-based grant from the school, and named scholarship (you fill out seperate applications with the program you're majoring in). From the government I received my MEAP money (money granted to HS students after taking a state assessment test), need-based aid based on the FAFSA app, federal Perkins loans, and federal Stafford loans. I did not have to apply for the federal loans, they were coordinated by the school based on FAFSA. All I had to do was sign the acceptance sheet and choose how much $$$ I wanted to accept (the maximum every time). From here, if I could still not afford the balance on tuition, I applied for private loans from Citi.

So basically there's several forms of FinAid:

- grants/scholarships from the school itself, either merit-based or need-based
- grants/scholarships from private donors (the "named" scholarships)
- grants/scholarships from the government, usually the state gov't (mostly based on FAFSA and anything you earned through an HS program)
- loans from the federal gov't dept. of education
- loans from private companies

I have a few friends who are very smart, so they got lots of merit-based scholarships from the school. On top of that, if your parent(s) works here full time, you get an 80% tuition break. So I know people who actually received money back from the school because their scholarships covered more than the 20% balance of tuition. That would lead me to believe that there is not a cap on FinAid, you simply withdraw the money and put it toward rent and other school expenses.

My main piece of advice is, if you're getting/have federal Stafford loans, be SURE to consolidate them EVERY summer! Many of my friends were under the assuption that you don't consolidate until you're done with school. However, the interest rate has been doubling every July for the past few years. Luckily I consolidated in June of 2005 and again in June of 2006, so all the ones from June 2005 are at half the interest rate the June 2006 ones are. Make sense? I'm not sure what the future interest rate will be, but if this continues, don't wait! Even if you only have one loan, you still have to apply to have it "consolidated" to lock it in at lower interest.

If you want more details/exact amounts, feel free to PM me! All of the stressing I did my four years in college was related to my financial situation. I think I've gained enough knowledge that I could run our FinAid office....
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Old 09-01-2006, 02:16 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by LivLuvAndBootlegMusic
My main piece of advice is, if you're getting/have federal Stafford loans, be SURE to consolidate them EVERY summer! Many of my friends were under the assuption that you don't consolidate until you're done with school. However, the interest rate has been doubling every July for the past few years. Luckily I consolidated in June of 2005 and again in June of 2006, so all the ones from June 2005 are at half the interest rate the June 2006 ones are. Make sense? I'm not sure what the future interest rate will be, but if this continues, don't wait! Even if you only have one loan, you still have to apply to have it "consolidated" to lock it in at lower interest.

If you want more details/exact amounts, feel free to PM me! All of the stressing I did my four years in college was related to my financial situation. I think I've gained enough knowledge that I could run our FinAid office....

I applied for consolidation on my loans. I cannot believe how much interest has built up! It's horrible.

I remember an exboyfriend who went to grad school and used up all his financial aid.

I'm concerned because I will probably be in school for awhile and I just don't want my financial aid to run out and I have no options.
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Old 09-01-2006, 02:35 PM   #5
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You can get the financial aid every year. It's what I'm living off of for the next four years. The key is to make a budget and stick to it. People will always give you money if you need it, provided you don't have a lot of bad credit - even then some lenders will probably give it out at a higher interest rate.
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Old 09-01-2006, 02:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by LivLuvAndBootlegMusic
My main piece of advice is, if you're getting/have federal Stafford loans, be SURE to consolidate them EVERY summer! Many of my friends were under the assuption that you don't consolidate until you're done with school. However, the interest rate has been doubling every July for the past few years. Luckily I consolidated in June of 2005 and again in June of 2006, so all the ones from June 2005 are at half the interest rate the June 2006 ones are. Make sense? I'm not sure what the future interest rate will be, but if this continues, don't wait! Even if you only have one loan, you still have to apply to have it "consolidated" to lock it in at lower interest.


Great advice! I didn't consider that but now I will.

I'm not sure what you mean by "number", Jules. But there is so many variables. I was considered for finaid as an independent student who made a pittance....I am going to be recieving finaid every quarter that will entirely cover my tution plus give me some additional funds for living expenses, books,etc. But like I said, I'm not sure if your applying to a school that you are a state resident of, what the normal cost of tuition is, if your're independent financially of your parents, and yada yada. If you have more specific questions let me now. Though it definetly seems like LivLuv is the resident expert---she had to coach me through my promissary note signing. :wink
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Old 09-01-2006, 02:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2Girl1978

I remember an exboyfriend who went to grad school and used up all his financial aid.

I'm concerned because I will probably be in school for awhile and I just don't want my financial aid to run out and I have no options.
There's always Citi! I have my dad co-sign everytime (and Phil will have his dad co-sign since we have next to zero credit) and they're always approved.

If your aid doesn't cover tuition in full, the FinAid office should be able to give you a spreadsheet of the loans available to you and compare their interest rates/terms/etc. It's tough to get a recommendation from them (they always say they can't say "I would do this..." because it's a liability for them), but if you keep pushing them, or make an appointment with an advisor, they can go over all the options and their implications.
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Old 09-01-2006, 03:10 PM   #8
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It also depends on what you are studying.

Professional programs (like medicine, dentistry, law) are expensive but in my experience, their FinAid is way better. And the banks are willing to dump loads of cash on you at rather favourable rates because you are a low default risk and they want to keep you as a client afterwards.

With undergraduate loans, I think you end up getting more ripped off and a lot of times there the FinAid offices are employees are utterly useless.
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:05 PM   #9
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All the advice is excellent thanks! I'm getting financial aid for the upcoming year but I didn't ask how much I was getting. My credit is absolutely horrid right now and I tried to apply for Citi loans but got rejected. The only reason why I won't have my parents cosign a loan is because my lovely sister decided to not pay her student loan and saddled my mom and dad with it. My boyfriend has crappy credit and I don't want to ask him to cosign a loan. So basically I am shit out of luck getting loans through banks. Meh! I should have stayed away from credit cards when I was younger.
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Old 09-01-2006, 06:25 PM   #10
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Have you filled out the FAFSA? If not, that's where to start. It's not too late to get aid for this year, but it does take at least a few weeks to process at this point.

The FAFSA will determine your expected contribution, then will calculate what grants you might be eligible for. The information from your FAFSA then goes to your university, and their financial aid office will put together an offer for you, usually a combination of grants and loans, sometimes with scholarships, sometimes with work study. Freshmen and sophomores qualify for less aid than upperclassmen and grad students.

The maximum you can take each year is $8500 subsidized (you don't have to pay interest while you're in school) and $10,000 unsubsidized (you do). My advice is to try to avoid taking unsubsidized loans if you can, because that interest starts to add up quickly.

I don't think your credit rating has any effect on your ability to get student loans, but as you start repaying them, NEVER EVER default on them, because your credit will be screwed up for a loooooong time. There are so many different repayment plans that your bank or the government can help you find the right one for you.

If I'm not mistaken, the government has changed student loan regulations, and effective July 1 no student still in school can consolidate loans. I don't know why they did this, as it seems to be punishing students who are trying to be responsible.

I consolidated my loans on June 28 and still haven't gotten my confirmation. I emailed them today, because for a long time it was showing that my application was in cert status, but now it's not showing anything.

I know waaaaaay more about financial aid than I wish I did
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Old 09-01-2006, 06:30 PM   #11
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Double-check with your lender before consolidating your loans because they may be doing it for you. I was lucky that Wells Fargo handled my loans all four years and never sold them, so all my loans were automatically consolidated. When I started getting all those "Consolidate Now!" postcards in the mail, I contacted Wells Fargo to see if it was worthwhile and they said that while my monthly payments would be lowered by doing that, I'd end up paying out over a longer period of time and would actually be paying more total.

So definitely check with the lender first before consolidating or refinancing because you don't want to have to pay more money on college than you should, school is already expensive enough.
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Old 09-01-2006, 09:12 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoIsMyMuse
Have you filled out the FAFSA? If not, that's where to start. It's not too late to get aid for this year, but it does take at least a few weeks to process at this point.

The FAFSA will determine your expected contribution, then will calculate what grants you might be eligible for. The information from your FAFSA then goes to your university, and their financial aid office will put together an offer for you, usually a combination of grants and loans, sometimes with scholarships, sometimes with work study. Freshmen and sophomores qualify for less aid than upperclassmen and grad students.

The maximum you can take each year is $8500 subsidized (you don't have to pay interest while you're in school) and $10,000 unsubsidized (you do). My advice is to try to avoid taking unsubsidized loans if you can, because that interest starts to add up quickly.

I don't think your credit rating has any effect on your ability to get student loans, but as you start repaying them, NEVER EVER default on them, because your credit will be screwed up for a loooooong time. There are so many different repayment plans that your bank or the government can help you find the right one for you.

If I'm not mistaken, the government has changed student loan regulations, and effective July 1 no student still in school can consolidate loans. I don't know why they did this, as it seems to be punishing students who are trying to be responsible.

I consolidated my loans on June 28 and still haven't gotten my confirmation. I emailed them today, because for a long time it was showing that my application was in cert status, but now it's not showing anything.

I know waaaaaay more about financial aid than I wish I did

Oh. I should have consolidated earlier this year when I had the chance.
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Old 09-02-2006, 12:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by LivLuvAndBootlegMusic
My main piece of advice is, if you're getting/have federal Stafford loans, be SURE to consolidate them EVERY summer!
Loan consolidation is now an effectively meaningless program, as all new federal Stafford loans are now fixed at 6.5%, I believe. This little addendum was part of what Bush called "education reform."

Melon
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Old 09-02-2006, 01:00 PM   #14
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I'd like to know how people handle working full time and going to school at night!

I'm really not pleased with what I got for financial aid. By the time I graduate, I'll be 80 freaking years old with the rate I'm going.
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Old 09-02-2006, 02:49 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon


Loan consolidation is now an effectively meaningless program, as all new federal Stafford loans are now fixed at 6.5%, I believe. This little addendum was part of what Bush called "education reform."

Melon
Grrr! Well, I'm glad I consolidated about $12,000 worth when it was still 2.-something. I know the Perkins are always fixed around 6%; those never came into the consolidation picture.

BonoIsMyMuse, the credit rating would definitely affect one's ability to get loans from banks. For example, my freshman year I took $7000 from Citi and my sophomore year, we were denied. I had paid my own interest the entire year even though I wasn't required to, but there was something in my dad's credit that they didn't like. I don't know much about credit reports, but it could have been the fact he had changed jobs three times that year, which looks bad on paper (he actually didn't change his job, but the companies were bought out and merged). My junior and senior years, I was able to get more loans form Citi no problem.

Like dsmith said, many banks automatically consolidate your loans. For example, I owe Citi around $13,000 over four years, but they send me single statements.

The consolidation of federal loans is different because we didn't really "consolidate" anything, we just applied to stay at a lower interest rate before it doubled each July.

EDIT: oops, Phil is logged in but it's me, LivLuv
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