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. Katie says on July 8, 2009 at 12:26 pm:

    I just filed my FAFSA for the first time. I applied to college without financial aid, thinking that would grant me a better chance of acceptance. It certainly did. However, the school I currently attend won’t allow students who applied and were accepted w/out financial aid ever to apply for such aid through the school. This is extremely unfortunate, since I absolutely cannot afford the school I currently attend. I’m in the process of looking for other avenues (PELL grants, etc.) and keeping my fingers crossed. FAFSA was the first step. Now I’m forging ahead :/

    Reply To This Comment
  2. Adam says on July 6, 2009 at 10:38 am:

    Thanks, for the info. I have already filled out FAFSA and Stafford Loan and my mom filled out Parent Plus. I am hoping fo scholarship money to cut down the loan amount.

    Reply To This Comment
  3. LaWanda says on June 29, 2009 at 8:56 am:

    Well for me personally i need more money for school since im ouot-of-state and i have filed for fafsa but didn’t get much funding my older sister is in college also and tutition for both of us is looking kind of weak i really want to finish school but i don’t have the funds.

    Reply To This Comment
  4. courtney says on June 17, 2009 at 7:53 am:

    Thanks!! fasa didnt help me out to much either my parents make too much now my mom s out of work.

    Reply To This Comment
  5. Matthew says on June 11, 2009 at 4:48 pm:

    They didn’t help me. They say my parents make toooo much money.

    Reply To This Comment
  6. Sarah says on June 10, 2009 at 1:12 am:

    Great and Informative article. Fafsa is not a fun form at all. In fact, it is rather a pain.

    Reply To This Comment
  7. Christopher says on June 9, 2009 at 8:15 pm:

    Thank you for the information.

    Reply To This Comment
  8. SAM says on June 8, 2009 at 7:03 pm:


    Reply To This Comment
  9. Britney says on June 8, 2009 at 1:22 pm:

    I did my fafsa waiting for the results

    Reply To This Comment
  10. jessica says on June 5, 2009 at 12:30 am:

    this was good help, but i hate what my fafsa has to tell me. :(

    Reply To This Comment
  11. Pablo says on May 25, 2009 at 9:42 pm:

    The FAFSA article is a bit confusing but this information gave me some new ways to approach the filing of it.

    Reply To This Comment
  12. nia says on May 24, 2009 at 9:56 am:

    good info

    Reply To This Comment
  13. Lauren says on May 23, 2009 at 1:17 am:

    I have finally finished mine!! It was a stress but I got it done.

    Reply To This Comment
  14. Maya says on May 22, 2009 at 9:13 pm:

    This was great information. I helped me to understand the process a little better.

    Reply To This Comment
  15. E says on May 22, 2009 at 5:57 pm:

    I like this resourceful article and how it informs readers of the different types of funds available. I hope I will receive the proper coverage for my master’s degree in the field of education.

    Reply To This Comment
  16. E says on May 22, 2009 at 5:55 pm:

    I think fafsa is a great resource, easy to fill out and has a grueling waiting period. Hopefully coverage is given to those who truly need it. Great article on the different funds available.

    Reply To This Comment
  17. madalina says on May 21, 2009 at 3:40 pm:

    thank you

    Reply To This Comment
  18. Ryan says on May 14, 2009 at 6:46 am:

    Filling out the FAFSA is really a pain in the butt and honestly it does not always give aid to the people who truly need and deserve it. Good article though

    Reply To This Comment
  19. Nastasha Morant says on May 13, 2009 at 3:34 pm:

    This article was very informative and really opens my eyes to the different funds available.

    Reply To This Comment
  20. justin walker says on May 13, 2009 at 1:40 pm:

    should read this before filling out paper work

    Reply To This Comment
  21. Lisa Sinclair says on May 13, 2009 at 12:25 am:

    Thanks for Info.

    Reply To This Comment
  22. Trisha says on May 9, 2009 at 6:12 pm:

    I just recently filed a FAFSA form and it was very irritating. I dont see why they have to focus so much on what a teen’s parents make rather than focus in on the teenager. It should have nothing to do with their parents. It’s what we need for college. I’m really glad that I got it over with though because it was really frustrating and stressful.

    Reply To This Comment
  23. Katie says on May 9, 2009 at 4:37 pm:

    Thanks for the information

    Reply To This Comment
  24. gaby says on May 8, 2009 at 10:04 pm:

    Very helpful thanks

    Reply To This Comment
  25. erika says on May 7, 2009 at 5:25 pm:

    very helpful..ill keep that in mind

    Reply To This Comment

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