As you navigate the college financial aid process, you may experience some twists and turns that you didn’t expect. When you’re enrolling in a four-year college or university, community college or a career technology center for the first time, you may not be sure what to ask the financial aid personnel. Here is a list of questions you may want to ask in order to have a better understanding of how it all works.
- What types of financial aid does your school offer?
- If I’m awarded a scholarship, will it change the amount of aid you can offer me?
- Does your school have a deadline for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, submission? What are the consequences if I don’t meet the deadline?
- When will I know how much financial aid I’ll be eligible to receive?
- Am I considered a dependent or independent student?
- Is there a way to change my dependency status?
- What should I do if I have a circumstance that causes my/my parent(s)’ income to change?
- Whose information do I include on the FAFSA if my parents are divorced?
- Are there resources available to help me investigate other types of aid, such as state grants and scholarships?
- Do you offer an installment plan that would allow me to make monthly payments through the year? If so, are there any associated fees?
- What is the average student loan debt for your graduates?
Most of these questions can only be answered by a knowledgeable financial aid officer, since no two students’ circumstances are the same. Many factors are considered to determine your financial need, which is based on the data you supply on your FAFSA. Always be patient with those who work in the financial aid office! They want you to attend their school, but they must follow federal regulations to the letter. The more you know, the more you can help them assess your situation.