I’ve Filed My FAFSA, Now What? | 03.03.09

Posted in FAFSA, Federal Work-Study, Financial Aid, Stafford Loan By Student Loan Network Staff

It was Benjamin Franklin that quipped, nothing is certain but death and taxes, but in the world of financial aid the student_aidFAFSA is at the top of that short list. Completing your FAFSA is an absolute must. Without it I can tell you with great certainty that you will not receive federal grants or loans, so kudos to you for getting that done.

For those who have not yet completed the FAFSA, or wish to review our tips for effectively filing your FAFSA, in order to maximize your financial aid benefit package, (click here). Remember, you can always resubmit your FAFSA with updated data, which may lower your EFC (we’ll discuss Expected Family Contribution in greater detail shortly).

For the rest of you that completed and submitted your FAFSA and are wondering what to do next; you’ll have to wait as the Department of Education processes your application. When they’re finished they will send both you and the schools you highlighted on the FAFSA a three page report called a Student Aid Report (SAR).

The SAR is a report of what the government believes you can afford to pay out of pocket for college in the form of EFC, or Expected Family Contribution. This number is located in the top right hand corner. The lower the EFC number the greater the financial need.

As mentioned, the SAR is also sent to the colleges of your choice (up to six schools max), from which they create a financial aid awards letter detailing what aid they’re able to offer you. You will most likely receive this awards letter in the mail.

The awards letter is a comprehensive breakdown of all school related expenses, scholarship and grant money you qualify to receive, work-study eligibility, as well as the financial resources the school feels you have at your disposal to pay for one year of attendance. They also give recommendations as to the best loan options available.

The most common loan option students take advantage of when paying for school is the Stafford loan, which is divided into two categories, subsidized and unsubsidized.

Subsidized Stafford loans are awarded based on financial need. You will not be charged interest before you begin repayment or during periods of deferment. The federal government “subsidizes” (or pays) the interest during these times. No payments are expected on the loan while you are enrolled as a full or half time student.

studentsUnsubsidized Stafford loans are not awarded based on financial need. Any eligible student can take out Unsubsidized Stafford Loans. You will be charged interest from the time the loan is disbursed, to the time the loan is repaid in full. No payments are expected on the loan while you are enrolled as a full or half time student.

Learn more about Stafford Loans.

For the upcoming 2009-2010 academic year the interest rate for subsidized Stafford loans, for undergraduate students, is fixed at 5.6%. If you fall into the unsubsidized category you will be extended a 6.8% fixed interest rate.

Private loans have also become a very attractive alternative these days with the prime rate at a 55-year low. Most private loans do require a co-signer. But the key is to send your FAFSA to as many schools as possible in hopes of fielding some attractive offers and limiting the amount of funds you need to borrow.

If you list multiple schools on your FAFSA you can use one school’s offer (awards letter) against another to try and land a better deal. Most schools generally set a May 1 deadline, which is why the financial aid officers refer to April as haggle month. Students and parents generally try to haggle for a better deal before the May 1 deadline.

So as you can see the FAFSA is just the beginning of the financial aid process, with many more steps in tow. But unlike the little engine that could, which repeated its motto I-think-I-can, as it climbed over that mountain top, I-know-you can! I know you can get thru the financial aid process, although sometimes it can seem daunting and overwhelming. You can do it, I just know you can.

Apply for a Federal Stafford Loan Now.

For all you hungry scholarshippoints members out there enjoy this code worth 10 points, FAFSADONE.

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537 Responses to “I’ve Filed My FAFSA, Now What?”

  1. Allie says on May 7, 2009 at 4:08 pm:

    Thanks good info

    Reply To This Comment
  2. Vilmarys says on May 7, 2009 at 3:00 pm:

    Very good article…

    Reply To This Comment
  3. Angela says on May 7, 2009 at 1:27 pm:

    Good article! Very informative.

    Reply To This Comment
  4. Kayla says on May 6, 2009 at 1:48 pm:

    This was very helpful! thank you!

    Reply To This Comment
  5. Mark says on May 6, 2009 at 12:13 pm:

    I’ve always filed FAFSA…great opportunity

    Reply To This Comment
  6. Christine says on May 5, 2009 at 4:16 pm:

    very informative

    Reply To This Comment
  7. Donna says on May 5, 2009 at 3:40 pm:

    very informative

    Reply To This Comment
  8. shaniquia says on May 1, 2009 at 1:17 pm:

    Good article it helps me out a lot.

    Reply To This Comment
  9. edth says on April 29, 2009 at 12:40 am:

    it was cool

    Reply To This Comment
  10. alyssa says on April 27, 2009 at 5:22 pm:

    very helpful

    Reply To This Comment
  11. Catie says on April 25, 2009 at 11:31 pm:

    Very Helpful

    Reply To This Comment
  12. jenn says on April 25, 2009 at 11:23 pm:

    The FAFSA is so confusing, this information really helps.

    Reply To This Comment
  13. Ava says on April 25, 2009 at 5:51 pm:

    This was very interesting!

    Reply To This Comment
  14. Zach says on April 25, 2009 at 4:58 pm:

    That was a great article

    Reply To This Comment
  15. dylan says on April 25, 2009 at 10:55 am:

    very helpful

    Reply To This Comment
  16. elyse says on April 24, 2009 at 10:36 pm:

    I think that it is a lot of work but definatly is worth it

    Reply To This Comment
  17. Ali says on April 24, 2009 at 8:22 pm:

    Very Informative. Thanks

    Reply To This Comment
  18. Jamie says on April 23, 2009 at 8:59 pm:

    thanks, good info

    Reply To This Comment
  19. Katie says on April 23, 2009 at 8:45 pm:

    Stafford Loans are great unless you are a graduate student. Their interest rate is still up to 8.25% which is very high.

    Reply To This Comment
  20. Katie says on April 23, 2009 at 8:44 pm:

    Stafford Loans are great unless you are a graduate student when the interest rate is caped at 8.25% it’s still enormously expensive to take out a loan.

    Reply To This Comment
  21. Christina says on April 23, 2009 at 5:21 am:

    Very helpful!!

    Reply To This Comment
  22. Guillermo says on April 22, 2009 at 6:59 pm:

    great advice!

    Reply To This Comment
  23. Charles says on April 21, 2009 at 10:51 am:

    I FILLED OUT THE Fafsa now waiting to hear from them.

    Reply To This Comment
  24. michelle says on April 17, 2009 at 10:50 am:

    I filed my fafsa and got it back, but i got almost no money… =[

    Reply To This Comment
  25. Jessica says on April 16, 2009 at 8:47 pm:

    Thank you so much for getting me that much closer to returning to college….. I am excited!

    Reply To This Comment

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