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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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby flowylime » Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:15 pm

texlawtex wrote: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?


Technically, there is no real deadline for the FAFSA. However, the school you will be attending may have a priority submission deadline as to when they want your FAFSA in order to review it and possibly to offer you need-based grant aid. Check the school's financial aid website to see if they have a priority deadline - they'll make it pretty clear.

A FAFSA is required to receive any federal aid, including Stafford/Direct loans, Perkins loans, and GradPLUS loans. Most likely you will need to submit it to be considered for need-based aid as well. So just do it.

bmontminy
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby bmontminy » Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:18 pm

I have been offered a full ride from a strong regional school, and am weighing it against paying sticker at a T20.

I have already sent a request for scholly money from the T20, and am wondering how hard it might be to get some sort of living expense stipend out of the lower ranked school. It would seem to me to be much harder than just attempting to up a scholly, but am not really sure.

Thank you for your time.

flowylime
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby flowylime » Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:22 pm

SportsFanatic wrote: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....


Great question - I think there are many students in your situation. Most schools will not automatically take that fact into consideration. You will have to appeal to them to make them aware of that fact and submit any additional information they want to verify.

What I would do is e-mail the financial aid office(s) and just say something like: "Hello, Because I will no longer working starting August 2010, the information on my FAFSA does not completely describe my situation. My earnings for 2010 will be $xx, based on my current income. My spouse's earnings will be approximately $xx. Could you please take this into consideration when offering my financial aid award? I am willing to provide any additional documentation you might need. Thanks!"

They'll let you know what else they need from you.

flowylime
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby flowylime » Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:29 pm

bmontminy wrote:I have been offered a full ride from a strong regional school, and am weighing it against paying sticker at a T20.

I have already sent a request for scholly money from the T20, and am wondering how hard it might be to get some sort of living expense stipend out of the lower ranked school. It would seem to me to be much harder than just attempting to up a scholly, but am not really sure.

Thank you for your time.


Well, unfortunately scholarships are not really my area of expertise because they are usually offered by the admissions folks. However, you should definitely ask if you are interested. Just e-mail them and say that you are interested in attending their school and you would like to be considered for a living expense stipend. They'll get back to you letting you know if they do offer that at all and whether you may be eligible. Some schools have "waitlists" for scholarships/expense stipends too, so that's why you may as well shoot off an e-mail. Most schools offer only a very limited amount of stipends, so jump on that.

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SportsFanatic
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby SportsFanatic » Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:37 pm

flowylime wrote:
SportsFanatic wrote: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....


Great question - I think there are many students in your situation. Most schools will not automatically take that fact into consideration. You will have to appeal to them to make them aware of that fact and submit any additional information they want to verify.

What I would do is e-mail the financial aid office(s) and just say something like: "Hello, Because I will no longer working starting August 2010, the information on my FAFSA does not completely describe my situation. My earnings for 2010 will be $xx, based on my current income. My spouse's earnings will be approximately $xx. Could you please take this into consideration when offering my financial aid award? I am willing to provide any additional documentation you might need. Thanks!"

They'll let you know what else they need from you.


GREAT!! Thank you very much.

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ryguy
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby ryguy » Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:53 pm

When do the schools receive the funds, and how do I get the portion I need for books, food, rent and travel?

andreea7
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby andreea7 » Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:02 pm

Hi,

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions.

It doesn't look like I qualify for much financial aid if any because my husband make quite a bit more than I make. We will lose my income this summer. We don't really have any assets, we don't own a home and our savings and 401Ks are nothing to write home about. We also provide quite a bit of financial support to my parents abroad every year, but nothing that could be backed up by documents. Do you have any advice as to how I could maximize the amount of financial aid I get?

NewtonLied
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby NewtonLied » Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:07 pm

Hi, I have AWFUL credit and 10k in debts from undergrad which are currently being deferred. If I have a cosigner, will I have any trouble borrowing up to my COA (30k+/yr)?
Last edited by NewtonLied on Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

flowylime
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby flowylime » Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:09 pm

ryguy wrote:When do the schools receive the funds, and how do I get the portion I need for books, food, rent and travel?


You will probably get your first bill in July. If you have accepted loans/grants from them, they will be listed as a credit on your bill by then, or you can probably view your student account online through your school once they credit your loans/grants/scholarships. They probably won't actually physically get the loan funds from the lenders until early August.

You definitely will not get the refund check (the additional funds over the tuition costs that you can use for personal expenses) any sooner than ten days prior to classes starting, and that's if all your ducks are in a row. Each school has a policy as to when they disburse refund checks, so it could be anywhere from ten days prior to the start of classes to a few weeks after. Budget accordingly! Don't depend on that for books or August/September rent, as I've seen many students have to wait for their refunds because of a mistake in processing or the student didn't complete something.

Some schools will be able to disburse your refund check to you via direct deposit into a checking or savings account, some will mail you a check, and some will make you pick it up. Depends.

flowylime
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby flowylime » Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:18 pm

andreea7 wrote:Hi,

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions.

It doesn't look like I qualify for much financial aid if any because my husband make quite a bit more than I make. We will lose my income this summer. We don't really have any assets, we don't own a home and our savings and 401Ks are nothing to write home about. We also provide quite a bit of financial support to my parents abroad every year, but nothing that could be backed up by documents. Do you have any advice as to how I could maximize the amount of financial aid I get?


You're welcome! Glad all this info in my brain is good for something. :)

You will definitely qualify for federal loans and GradPLUS, as long as you've submitted your FAFSA. As far as grants or other need-based aid goes, I would follow the advice I gave above to another non-traditional student explaining that you will lose your income. It could make a difference in your eligibility of subsidized loans. Doesn't hurt to try.

You can include the information that you help to support your parents, but they might not be able to consider that. They may ask to verify that, and you could just provide copies of the checks or withdrawals from your bank statements. That would be sufficient. Good luck!

flowylime
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby flowylime » Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:21 pm

NewtonLied wrote:Hi, I have AWFUL credit and 10k in debts from undergrad which are currently being deferred. If I have a cosigner, will I have any trouble borrowing up to my COA (30k+/yr)?


You shouldn't have too much trouble. You're eligible for the guaranteed $20,500 in Stafford/Direct loans regardless of credit, so you should be good there. (Exception: if you are in default of a federal educational loan. But it doesn't sound like you are since they are in deferral.)

The remaining $10k can be borrowed with the co-signer and the GradPLUS. Shouldn't be a problem if your co-signer is credit-worthy. I've known students go through a few co-signers until they found a good one, so you should be fine. Good luck!

bluedev1
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby bluedev1 » Fri Mar 05, 2010 11:17 pm

I have a question regarding taking out loans. I need to take out a car loan to buy a car for law school, but also anticipate taking out loans to pay for law school. I don't know how much I'll be getting in scholarships and taking in federal loans (still waiting to hear from school financial aid office about exact figures), so I'm not sure if I'll be taking out private loans. However, I need to have car by May 27th, and would like to buy one soon, but am wondering if I should take out the car loan before or after I take out school loans. Does taking out a car loan before taking out private loans hurt my chances of getting private loans? Or does it not matter? Or will my private loans hurt my chances of getting a good car loan (car loan will likely be through my bank)? Just confused as to how I should take care of everything, I would prefer to do it as soon as possible (e.g. take care of car asap, likely before school loans, and then take care of school loans as soon as I am able).

gemma232
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby gemma232 » Sat Mar 06, 2010 7:35 pm

I have a question about the Income Based Repayment (IBR) option for student loans. Does it apply to any job that you get once you graduate? For example, worst-case scenario you graduate $200,000 in debt with a JD and get a job at McDonald's making minimum wage--would you only be responsible for paying a percentage of your minimum wage income under IBR (and not a flat monthly payment)? That is, you have $200,000 in debt, but are only responsible for paying like $20 a month because you don't make very much money at your job? What if you don't have an income (i.e., don't find a job)--does that mean you don't have to pay your loans under the IBR plan?

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fangonk
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby fangonk » Sun Mar 07, 2010 3:33 am

Hi, I have been scheming to get into Duke Law for a long time. My GPA is well below their average but my LSAT is a pretty high and I have an super diverse academic background plus some other interesting resume line items that I think make me a fairly good candidate for getting into Duke. However, I am crazy broke. Like zero bucks in the bank. I need every dollar of financial aid I can get. Since my GPA is so low and I am kind of a borderline candidate anyways, I am wondering if it is safe for me to assume that merit-based financial assistance in my case is a write-off. I want to apply for early decision because I know it increases my chances of acceptance but I am concerned it would be a waste to forgo my chances at merit-based financial aide. How is merit-based financial aide determined? Is based on GPA and LSATs? Or are my work/life experiences factored in?
Last edited by fangonk on Mon Mar 08, 2010 1:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

bluedev1
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby bluedev1 » Mon Mar 08, 2010 12:18 am

I can try to answer this since I'm actually headed to Duke and found out about this indirectly. For Duke's merit-based aid, they begin looking at scholarship applications in January (just a 2 page form you fill out). When they are determining merit-aid, they look at your entire admission application, along with any additional info on your scholarship form (i.e. need-based factors). So they will see your essays and LORs and resume and everything in determining your merit. At least this is what I was told by the Duke financial aid office a while back when I called with questions about filling out my form, not sure if this is the same for all schools. Hope that helps a little.
Last edited by bluedev1 on Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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fangonk
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby fangonk » Mon Mar 08, 2010 1:42 am

bluedev1 wrote:I can try to answer this since I'm actually headed to Duke and found out about this indirectly. For Duke's merit-based aid, they begin looking at scholarship applications in January (just a 2 page form you fill out). When they are determining merit-aid, they look at your entire admission application, along with any additional info on your scholarship form (i.e. need-based factors). So they will see your essays and LORs and resume and everything in determining your merit. At least this is what I was told by the Duke financial aid office a while back when I called with questions about filling out my form, not sure if this is the same for all schools. Hope that helps a little.



So are you saying that they don't consider merit based aide until after they have finished admissions? Do they look at all of the applications together?

flowylime
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby flowylime » Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:13 am

bluedev1 wrote:I have a question regarding taking out loans. I need to take out a car loan to buy a car for law school, but also anticipate taking out loans to pay for law school. I don't know how much I'll be getting in scholarships and taking in federal loans (still waiting to hear from school financial aid office about exact figures), so I'm not sure if I'll be taking out private loans. However, I need to have car by May 27th, and would like to buy one soon, but am wondering if I should take out the car loan before or after I take out school loans. Does taking out a car loan before taking out private loans hurt my chances of getting private loans? Or does it not matter? Or will my private loans hurt my chances of getting a good car loan (car loan will likely be through my bank)? Just confused as to how I should take care of everything, I would prefer to do it as soon as possible (e.g. take care of car asap, likely before school loans, and then take care of school loans as soon as I am able).



Well, you will probably need to get the car loan before you get a private educational loan, so as long as you have solid enough credit to get a car loan, I imagine you would be fine for a private loan. I would contact the lenders that you are interested in for your private loans, and ask them, since they'll be the ones reviewing your credit.

You won't need to begin the paperwork process for your private loan until June or so.

flowylime
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby flowylime » Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:18 am

gemma232 wrote:I have a question about the Income Based Repayment (IBR) option for student loans. Does it apply to any job that you get once you graduate? For example, worst-case scenario you graduate $200,000 in debt with a JD and get a job at McDonald's making minimum wage--would you only be responsible for paying a percentage of your minimum wage income under IBR (and not a flat monthly payment)? That is, you have $200,000 in debt, but are only responsible for paying like $20 a month because you don't make very much money at your job? What if you don't have an income (i.e., don't find a job)--does that mean you don't have to pay your loans under the IBR plan?


IBR applies to any job/income. You would be paying a percent of your adjusted gross income. There is no minimum set payment, and if you are unemployed or earning less than the federal poverty line, your monthly payments would be $0. Of course, there would still be interest accruing on the loans. Keep in mind that IBR is only an option for federal loans (Stafford/Direct, GradPLUS, Perkns) not private.

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homestyle28
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby homestyle28 » Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:22 am

Is there anything a person can do to make up for a poor undergrad gpa in respect to schollys? I have just over a 3.0, but several post-grad degrees (including another B.A.) that all have 3.8+ gpas. My Lsat was 99th percentile. But, I've been a little disappointed so far in my scholarship #'s. Any thoughts? Thanks!

becauseimaddicted
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby becauseimaddicted » Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:25 am

Flowylime, thank you very much for taking the time to help us out.

I am 23 and semi financially independent. I live with my parents but I pay all my own living expenses and I will be paying for my own law school. I'm assuming I won't get need based grant even though I have basically zero money of my own and I am paying for my own education, my parents make a lot of money (over 250k). I imagine this will disqualify me from need-based aid.

I also imagine you see this situation a lot. What is the best way to proceed to maximize the amount of money I can get? Should I put my parents info on the FAFSA or wait until asked by a specific school (I don't know where I'm going yet, waiting to hear from several schools). It seems that if a school requires parental information for need-based aid, than I'm not going to get any and I shouldn't even bother applying for it.

My parents are willing to cosign loans, however.

flowylime
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby flowylime » Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:52 am

homestyle28 wrote:Is there anything a person can do to make up for a poor undergrad gpa in respect to schollys? I have just over a 3.0, but several post-grad degrees (including another B.A.) that all have 3.8+ gpas. My Lsat was 99th percentile. But, I've been a little disappointed so far in my scholarship #'s. Any thoughts? Thanks!


Like I mentioned above, scholarships are not really my area because they are typically offered by members of the admissions office. I'm not sure what they are looking for, but from browsing lawschoolnumbers and hourumd it looks like they mainly use the good old GPA/LSAT combo. I like to think they take everything into account, but who knows. I suggest choosing your number one school and writing them an e-mail explaining how you really want to attend and your concern is money. Explain your grad school GPA and such. Can't hurt. Good luck!

flowylime
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby flowylime » Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:55 am

becauseimaddicted wrote:Flowylime, thank you very much for taking the time to help us out.

I am 23 and semi financially independent. I live with my parents but I pay all my own living expenses and I will be paying for my own law school. I'm assuming I won't get need based grant even though I have basically zero money of my own and I am paying for my own education, my parents make a lot of money (over 250k). I imagine this will disqualify me from need-based aid.

I also imagine you see this situation a lot. What is the best way to proceed to maximize the amount of money I can get? Should I put my parents info on the FAFSA or wait until asked by a specific school (I don't know where I'm going yet, waiting to hear from several schools). It seems that if a school requires parental information for need-based aid, than I'm not going to get any and I shouldn't even bother applying for it.

My parents are willing to cosign loans, however.


My recommendation is not to put your parent's info on the FAFSA, because it isn't really necessary or required. Based on your parent's income, you are not going to be eligible for need-based aid. It won't hurt to apply, but their information is taken into consideration on the need-based aid forms, and $250k isn't needy at all so I'd say your chances are very slim.

You will definitely be eligible for federal loans, however! They do not require a cosigner. So submit the FAFSA as soon as you can.

bworsowicz
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby bworsowicz » Mon Mar 08, 2010 1:52 pm

Hello, and thank you for taking your time to do this for us. I am married with twin 1-year-olds, and my question regards health insurance. My wife is in undergrad currently, and does not work full time. My boys qualify for a state medicaid program, but I was looking at health insurance both from my wife's UG school (massive public school) and from private insurers (the law school I'm looking at doesn't offer student insurance) and it is going to be a stretch to pay for insurance for the two of us in addition to all of our other expenses under the student budget at the school I am looking at. Is this the sort of thing that the law school can make an exception or extend the budget for? I have a significant scholarship offer, so the additional debt would be a concern, but not prohibitive.

avacado111
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby avacado111 » Mon Mar 08, 2010 2:00 pm

if say, someone's fasfa contribution is like 100.00 would that person get a substantial need based grant? Or is it mostly in loans? What is the max gap that schools (percentage of the total COA) ususally give out in need based grants?

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goblue1646
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Re: Financial aid counselor, taking questions!

Postby goblue1646 » Mon Mar 08, 2010 2:00 pm

I haven't made any money in the past year, and haven't received any W2s. Do I need to file for a tax return? I'm not sure what to put on my FAFSA except that I don't plan on doing taxes. Does this influence the amount I could get in loans? I really know almost nothing about taxes/loans, so any info or advice you have would be amazing. Thanks!




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