Looking At My Financial Aid Options

Looking At My Financial Aid Options

by Kevin Ree

Deciding to attend college is exciting and empowering, but when assistance is needed to pay for school, this can include moments of confusion and misinterpretation that can have a lasting impact.

Your financial aid game plan will often start with the ‘FAFSA’ (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) process to determine the types of financial aid you qualify for.  You may be offered any or even a combo of these choices:

GRANTS – Typically based on you/your family’s economic situation, must qualify for and show proof of qualifications.  These do not have to be repaid and are also known as “gift aid.”

SCHOLARSHIPS – Usually awarded to qualified students based on proven performance (often academic or athletic).  These do not have to be repaid but may require meeting a continued level of performance.

LOANS – The MOST COMMON type of FINANCIAL AID and loans do require repayment (with interest). Federal and private loans may be offered directly to students or co-signed with parents/guardians.  Federal loans typically have the lowest interest rates and best protections in the forms of repayment and postponement options.  Private loans have their own requirements set by the lender.

Talk with the financial aid reps at the school to be clear on the financial aid you’ll be receiving and whether you’ll be required to pay anything back (GET IT IN WRITING).  Be clear on the contracts and promissory notes you sign.

Be educated, be empowered.

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