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Understanding Financial Aid-Need to Know Answers

1. How do I find Financial Aid for college?

The first thing you will need to do is fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid also known as FAFSA. This helps students find thousands of dollars in funding that includes grants and/or loans. Even if you do not qualify for a grant, you can qualify for federal student loans that have lower interest rates than loans you secure for a typical bank. Another funding option is to apply for scholarships. You can search the web (, scholly, GENESIS Blog, etc.) for countless scholarships available for the average, exceptional, and unusual student.

2. What is the difference between grants, scholarships, and loans?

Grants and scholarships are free financial awards that do not need to be repaid. Scholarship awards are awarded by major, merit, talent, ethnicity, extra-curriculars etc. Loans will need to be repaid, with interest by student or parent based on the type.

3. How can I increase my chances of being awarded a scholarship?

You can increase your chances by applying for scholarships in your city, major, or a specific criterion. Focus on rules and regulations to apply for those that you are eligible for. Have someone else to look over and proof your work before submission.

4. Do I need to be admitted to a university before I apply for Financial Aid?

No, you can apply for financial aid anytime after October 1st. For funds to be distributed, you must be accepted and enrolled in a university.

5. If I receive a scholarship, should I report it to the university financial aid office?

Yes, any sources of funds received from financial aid and/or outside sources must be reported. These funds are used to reduce the student loan amount.

6. If my parents make too much money to qualify for financial aid, should I still apply?

Yes. Some colleges and universities require it in order to qualify for other scholarships and grants they offer. Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is free, therefore all should apply. It allows you to compete for grants to fill in the gaps for other funding for college expenses, especially if you did not receive the Zell Miller scholarship.

7. If I receive loans, are my parents responsible for all of them?

Only Federal Parent PLUS loans. Parents will be responsible for other loans if they co-sign on a loan and you are under 18. In general, students should be responsible for repaying their educational loans. If your parents or grandparents want to help pay off your loan or if your loan provider provides an electronic payment service, your parents can agree to have the payments deducted from their account.

8. How do I apply for a Pell Grant and other types of aid?

First, you must submit a FAFSA application form. To indicate interest in student employment, student loans, and parent loans, you should check the appropriate boxes on the FAFSA. Checking these boxes does not commit you to accept these types of aid, as you will have the opportunity to accept or decline each part of your aid package later, but leaving these boxes unchecked will not increase the number of grants you receive.

9. What can I do if I do not receive enough government aid?

Immediately contact the financial aid administrators at your school. They will point you in the right direction or inform you of additional resources. As a last resort, take out a loan.

10. Do I need to take a Direct Federal Loan if I can pay my entire college bill?

It’s subjective. Depending on your student and expectations desired, it could be used as a teachable moment. It could be used for student accountability and financial education. The direct federal loan will be the only loan in the student’s name uniquely making it a tool to use as influence to make sure your student attains and completes families the college objective, graduating. Colleges and universities do not require students to attend classes, study, or take responsibility for actions. With this risk factor lingering, it may propel them to stay the course.

11. Is there a need for my parents to shift assets to get more financial aid?

It depends on your family’s expected family contribution (EFC). This amount can be reduced if your college or university warrant a financial aid reduction strategy.

You must know how your school awards financial aid, your grant and scholarship amount verses work study or loans. Your school of choice will determine your financial aid amount.

12. Why is my expected family contribution listed on the Student Aid Report (SAR) different from my family contribution expected by the college?

The formula for calculating the expected family contribution is different from the formulas used by many colleges and universities. The formula does not consider home equity as part of the assets, while many private colleges do consider home equity for their official funds. Most schools use only student money to offset loan eligibility, not grant awards.

13. Do I need to reapply for financial aid every year?

Yes, most financial aid offices require that you apply for financial aid every year. If your financial situations change, then you may receive more or less aid. You will receive a Renewal Application after the first year of filing that contains information from the previous year’s FAFSA. Renewal of many financial aid packages depends on earning a specific number of credits or achieving a certain GPA.

14. Do I need to begin repaying my loans if I need to take a leave of absence for any reason?

No, not immediately. The direct federal loan has a grace period of 6 months, and the Perkins loan has a grace period of 9 months before the student must begin repaying the loan. You will not need to repay your loan until the grace period is over. However, if you use up the grace-period before you graduate, you’ll need to begin repaying your loan immediately after you graduate.

If you need assistance in financial aid planning to create a funding plan, please contact GENESIS at (678) 519-3776. #financialaid#grants#scholarships

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