Accepting College Financial Aid – Newton Daily News – Natural Self Esteem

By Laurie Hempen

Board of Directors of the Iowa Student Liquidity Corporation

If a student in your household has applied for college grants for 2022-2023, college grant offers should be arriving soon.

You may be given a standardized college financial plan that can help your family understand the different types of help on offer.

Use the following tips to understand offers of financial assistance:

1. Understand exactly what constitutes the cost of participation.

Generally, you will see combined or separate costs for tuition, fees, room, board, and other direct costs charged by the college. You may see estimated costs for materials, transportation, personal, and other expenses not paid to the institution. To compare offers of financial assistance from multiple institutions, establish similar costs and calculate what the estimated expenses will cost you based on the program and the location of the institution.

2. Know how to count grants and scholarships.

Grants and scholarships do not have to be repaid. Find out which grants and scholarships are for one year only, which are automatically renewed for multiple years, and which require action or qualifications to receive in years to come.

3. Check the expected family contribution.

Each institution determines an expected family contribution from information reported on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) or other financial assistance application. While this amount in certain circumstances, such as a dramatically changed income, your family is generally expected to contribute the listed amount to the expenses. This may not fit your family’s circumstances and the actual amount you contribute will affect the net cost of attending the facility.

4. Carefully consider work options.

Work options, such as federal work-study programs, require the student to take a qualifying job and work a specified number of hours in order to earn the money paid to the student in lieu of college. It may be to the student’s advantage to pursue these options and use the income towards their expenses. Alternatively, a student may prefer to find other employment.

5. Know the difference between the loan types on offer.

If income, savings, scholarships, and grants do not cover the expected total cost of the visit, the financial assistance offering includes federal student loans and may include federal parent loans and institutional or private student loans. Federal student loans are the best option if your student needs to borrow money. Read the terms of other loans carefully to determine which ones work for your family or if you prefer to borrow from an unlisted lender.

6. Decline unneeded credit.

An offer of financial assistance may include the maximum amount of government student and parent loans available. Remember that any type of loan must be repaid with interest over time. A student can refuse an offered loan or accept only part of the loan amount. If spending can be reduced without debt, then turning down some or all of the loans offered is a smart move.

7. Explore payment options.

The college or university may offer payment plans or other funding options. Be aware of any fees for using this type of plan, and consider the flexibility gained by delaying part of a bill payment.

When reviewing education loan terms, also consider options for paying principal or interest while the student is still in school. Paying interest as it accrues can prevent capitalization, where unpaid accrued interest is added to the loan balance and interest is also accrued.

8. Meet deadlines.

Review all deadlines to accept the financial assistance offer or individual components, apply for a payment plan, or make a payment. Make sure the contact information is up to date so you or your student can receive notifications of upcoming deadlines or payment dates.

9. Ask for clarification.

If you have any questions about the study grant offer, please contact the study grant office of the university.

More information

Visit the Articles tab on the Iowa Student Loan Liquidity Corporation website for more information on college financing. Go to www.IowaStudentLoan.org/Articles/Parents to get started.

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