Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Discuss various money matters here. Loans (federal and private), scholarships, lottery winnings, or other school finance related information and queries.
flowylime
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Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby flowylime » Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:14 pm

I'd love to help you out with any general financial aid questions that you have. I've been an fa counselor for several years at two different big state schools. Fire away!

whatwhat
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby whatwhat » Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:17 pm

if i receive full rides from two different schools, can i expect the loans given by each to be equivalent? loans would be to cover living expenses

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Sauer Grapes
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby Sauer Grapes » Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:19 pm

Would you personally take $150K in loans to go to the best school you can, or would you go to a still good, but slightly worse ranked school that is giving you a lot of scholarships?

I'm just curious to hear your perspective on that.

flowylime
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby flowylime » Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:24 pm

whatwhat wrote:if i receive full rides from two different schools, can i expect the loans given by each to be equivalent? loans would be to cover living expenses


You should expect them to be pretty similar. The difference would be in the cost of attendance. Each school has an official cost of attendance (COA), so your scholarship + loans could not exceed that amount (unless you appealed to them with exceptions such as child care or a mortgage payment).

So one school's loan offer might be a bit higher depending on the cost of living there. The schools' financial aid websites should post their respective COAs, so you can probably get an idea of exactly what the loan offers would be.

astro1819
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby astro1819 » Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:26 pm

Thanks for taking questions!

How important are the priority financial aid deadlines? I haven't filed my taxes yet (waiting on a 1099-INT), so I haven't filed my FAFSA or financial aid forms either. Am I making a huge mistake by waiting until mid-march to complete them? Thanks
Last edited by astro1819 on Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

flowylime
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby flowylime » Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:32 pm

Sauer Grapes wrote:Would you personally take $150K in loans to go to the best school you can, or would you go to a still good, but slightly worse ranked school that is giving you a lot of scholarships?

I'm just curious to hear your perspective on that.



Good question! I've often thought that I am a financial aid counselor due to karma (I was an idiot in undergrad and borrowed loans up to the full maximum cost of attendance even though I didn't really need it). I am now paying back those loans (federal and private) and that basically sucks.

I'm struggling with a similar predicament for myself though. My financial aid counselor side says "Don't be a dummy; take the money and run." So that is my advice as a counselor. As a person though, I think this is an individual risk situation. Before I decide for myself, I am going to sit down and calculate all expenses (including loss of income and retirement savings/interest) and figure out my goals (when do I want to buy a house? have kids?) and hope to come back with an obvious answer. It will be hard to compare that to opportunity at the higher ranked school, so... :) I dunno.

ITE, though, everything's a gamble right? Go with your gut.

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Sauer Grapes
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby Sauer Grapes » Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:37 pm

flowylime wrote:
Sauer Grapes wrote:Would you personally take $150K in loans to go to the best school you can, or would you go to a still good, but slightly worse ranked school that is giving you a lot of scholarships?

I'm just curious to hear your perspective on that.



Good question! I've often thought that I am a financial aid counselor due to karma (I was an idiot in undergrad and borrowed loans up to the full maximum cost of attendance even though I didn't really need it). I am now paying back those loans (federal and private) and that basically sucks.

I'm struggling with a similar predicament for myself though. My financial aid counselor side says "Don't be a dummy; take the money and run." So that is my advice as a counselor. As a person though, I think this is an individual risk situation. Before I decide for myself, I am going to sit down and calculate all expenses (including loss of income and retirement savings/interest) and figure out my goals (when do I want to buy a house? have kids?) and hope to come back with an obvious answer. It will be hard to compare that to opportunity at the higher ranked school, so... :) I dunno.

ITE, though, everything's a gamble right? Go with your gut.

That's what I was interested in, and what I was expecting. I, like you, also realize there is more to it than just the money though.

It's a good decision to worry about though.

flowylime
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby flowylime » Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:39 pm

astro1819 wrote:Thanks for taking questions?

How important are the priority financial aid deadlines? I haven't filed my taxes yet (waiting on a 1099-INT), so I haven't filed my FAFSA or financial aid forms either. Am I making a huge mistake by waiting until mid-march to complete them? Thanks



No prob. I lurk here all the time and I thought I should contribute and hopefully reduce misinformation.

I don't think it's a HUGE mistake, but I would file the FAFSA as soon as you can, like today. I would recommend to everyone to fill it out on January 1, and just use estimated amounts from your final paycheck of the prior year. Schools have priority deadlines for need-based grants, because they have such limited funds for those awards. So if you aren't expecting one of those then it isn't a big deal, and you'll get loans no matter what.

People put estimated amounts on their FAFSA all the time, and then update with the corrected amounts later.

Some schools are really strict with the priority deadlines, and some are lenient or allow you to appeal them (for serious reasons, not just because you were waiting on a form). Contact the individual schools for specifics.

tamlyric
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby tamlyric » Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:44 pm

Thanks for doing this! :mrgreen:

Do you know how a spouse's educational debt might impact a person's grant or loan amounts, if at all?

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nyyankees
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby nyyankees » Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:45 pm

so if i filed my fafsa after teh priority deadline, does that mean I probably wont get need based aid?

astro1819
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby astro1819 » Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:46 pm

flowylime wrote:
astro1819 wrote:Thanks for taking questions?

How important are the priority financial aid deadlines? I haven't filed my taxes yet (waiting on a 1099-INT), so I haven't filed my FAFSA or financial aid forms either. Am I making a huge mistake by waiting until mid-march to complete them? Thanks



No prob. I lurk here all the time and I thought I should contribute and hopefully reduce misinformation.

I don't think it's a HUGE mistake, but I would file the FAFSA as soon as you can, like today. I would recommend to everyone to fill it out on January 1, and just use estimated amounts from your final paycheck of the prior year. Schools have priority deadlines for need-based grants, because they have such limited funds for those awards. So if you aren't expecting one of those then it isn't a big deal, and you'll get loans no matter what.

People put estimated amounts on their FAFSA all the time, and then update with the corrected amounts later.

Some schools are really strict with the priority deadlines, and some are lenient or allow you to appeal them (for serious reasons, not just because you were waiting on a form). Contact the individual schools for specifics.


OK, thanks! I don't anticipate being eligible for need based grants. I'll try to file by the end of this week at the latest.

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neimanmarxist
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby neimanmarxist » Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:47 pm

Thank you for taking questions!

Is there an income threshold above which one does not qualify for GradPlus loans?

If your EFC is high and you don't get much in subsidized loans, can you borrow the COA in private/ GradPlus loans?

Does the interest on the unsubsidized (private) loans begin to accrue immediately in all cases?

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T14_Scholly
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby T14_Scholly » Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:50 pm

We don't need you here, because there is no misinformation on TLS, and all of our users are perfectly capable of providing financial aid advice. Why do you think I put dollar signs in my avatar?

flowylime
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby flowylime » Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:56 pm

tamlyric wrote:Thanks for doing this! :mrgreen:

Do you know how a spouse's educational debt might impact a person's grant or loan amounts, if at all?



You're welcome!

Well, it depends on the school. That information is not required on the FAFSA, so if the school only requires the FAFSA or if you aren't expecting need-based grants, then it wouldn't make a difference on your financial aid.

Some schools have their own financial aid forms that they want you to submit, and they may ask for the undergrad debt there. In that case, the counselors will probably have a formula where they figure out what your monthly payment is as a percent of your income to determine how substantial the debt is. This could definitely have a positive effect on your grant or need-based (Perkins, Subsidized) loan eligibility. It would never hurt you, so don't be afraid to disclose.

flowylime
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby flowylime » Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:59 pm

nyyankees wrote:so if i filed my fafsa after teh priority deadline, does that mean I probably wont get need based aid?



You might not automatically be considered for need-based grants. Some schools basically just run a report of all the students who filed before their deadline and offer grants to only those students. If I were you, I'd write a quick e-mail to the financial aid office(s) that said "I was unable to submit my FAFSA until [date] because [reason]. Could you still consider me for any need-based grants or loans?" They'll be straight with you.

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nick637
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby nick637 » Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:00 pm

thanks for taking q's.

I am a 20 year old college student who is finishing up my UG in the summer. I will have 10k in UG debt. Will I be able to get federal loans to cover the cost of attendance roughly 15k a year, without a cosigner?

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hiromoto45
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby hiromoto45 » Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:02 pm

For private loans for graduate school, if a person is coming out of UG do they need a co-signer for loans? Is there any way around not having a co-signer?

flowylime
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby flowylime » Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:04 pm

neimanmarxist wrote:Thank you for taking questions!

Is there an income threshold above which one does not qualify for GradPlus loans?

If your EFC is high and you don't get much in subsidized loans, can you borrow the COA in private/ GradPlus loans?

Does the interest on the unsubsidized (private) loans begin to accrue immediately in all cases?



Nope, definitely not. You should be able to get GradPLUS loans regardless of income. Credit is a little different - you may require a cosginer if your credit isn't perfect.

Yes, you will be able to borrow up to the COA in private or GradPLUS once you max out on the Stafford loans (including subsidized). Should be no problem with that.

Interest on the unsub Stafford/Direct loans accrues immediately, yup. I would try to make payments on the interest while you are in school, if possible. Every little bit will help.

flowylime
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby flowylime » Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:06 pm

T14_Scholly wrote:We don't need you here, because there is no misinformation on TLS, and all of our users are perfectly capable of providing financial aid advice. Why do you think I put dollar signs in my avatar?



I've got mad respect for your MS Paint skillz.

texlawtex
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby texlawtex » Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:06 pm

When do I need to submit my Fafsa?

Is it necessary to submit a Fafsa or only if I want need-based financial aid or loans?

flowylime
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby flowylime » Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:07 pm

nick637 wrote:thanks for taking q's.

I am a 20 year old college student who is finishing up my UG in the summer. I will have 10k in UG debt. Will I be able to get federal loans to cover the cost of attendance roughly 15k a year, without a cosigner?



Yes, definitely. The glorious thing about Federal Stafford/Direct loans is that you are guaranteed them regardless of age/credit. They do not require a cosigner.

GradPLUS and private loans may require a cosigner depending on your credit history.

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SportsFanatic
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby SportsFanatic » Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:08 pm

I am a non-traditional student. I've sent in my FAFSA, however, it shows my dual income for me and my spouse which won't be the case next yr in law school. Do schools take that into consideration? Or do they base it on your returns for the previous year? There will be a huge drop off without my salary....

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nick637
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby nick637 » Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:09 pm

flowylime wrote:
nick637 wrote:thanks for taking q's.

I am a 20 year old college student who is finishing up my UG in the summer. I will have 10k in UG debt. Will I be able to get federal loans to cover the cost of attendance roughly 15k a year, without a cosigner?



Yes, definitely. The glorious thing about Federal Stafford/Direct loans is that you are guaranteed them regardless of age/credit. They do not require a cosigner.

GradPLUS and private loans may require a cosigner depending on your credit history.

thank you for the response!

flowylime
Posts: 88
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 4:39 pm

Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby flowylime » Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:10 pm

hiromoto45 wrote:For private loans for graduate school, if a person is coming out of UG do they need a co-signer for loans? Is there any way around not having a co-signer?



You might need a co-signer, depending on your credit. I would poke around the internet or your community and contact the lenders that you are considering for private loans. For example, if you have been with a bank or credit union for a while, they may be a little more willing to take you on without a co-signer than a huge education lender like Sallie Mae. If you have loans from undergrad, credit cards, or a car loan, you might have good enough credit to avoid a co-signer. Do some research this summer.

Hope that helps.

whatwhat
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby whatwhat » Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:14 pm

flowylime wrote:
whatwhat wrote:if i receive full rides from two different schools, can i expect the loans given by each to be equivalent? loans would be to cover living expenses


You should expect them to be pretty similar. The difference would be in the cost of attendance. Each school has an official cost of attendance (COA), so your scholarship + loans could not exceed that amount (unless you appealed to them with exceptions such as child care or a mortgage payment).

So one school's loan offer might be a bit higher depending on the cost of living there. The schools' financial aid websites should post their respective COAs, so you can probably get an idea of exactly what the loan offers would be.


thanks!




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